“I would have written you, myself, if I could put down in words everything I want to say to you. A sea of ink would not be enough.”
“But you built me dreams instead.”
Wow, this was a weird but wonderful book. I read it based on a million recommendations from other Cannonballers, and the rest of y’all should read it too (especially if you liked Lev Grossman’s The Magicians — it reminded me of that one in a lot of ways).
The Night Circus is the product of two illusionists/enchanters who were selected as pawns in a game that has been played by two rivaling magicians for years. The two remain unknown to each other while working simultaneously on the enchanted circus. Basically, they’re trying to one-up each other’s magic, without knowing exactly whom they are competing against. The book describes their tricks in beautiful detail, and the circus makes for an amazing background. I would love to see this book translated to film in the same way that I always wanted to see Hogwarts. Hopefully I get my wish again.
The writing style mimics the story well — very fluid and occasionally confusing. Pro tip — read the damn dates at the beginning of the chapters and pay attention to how they change. It takes a while to get a sense of what you’re really reading, and it’s even harder to explain it now. But I think Morgenstern did a wonderful job of bringing the circus and its performers to life with her words.
I feel like everyone read this book about two years ago and raved about it. I actually bought it back then, but was afraid I would be the one person that didn’t like it. Some of the reviews made me worry that maybe it wasn’t my cup of tea, and then I started seeing reviews that were less excited about it, which made me feel like I was justified in holding off on reading it. As it turns out I shouldn’t have been worried at all, and I’m so glad I found some of the book challenges I did this year that inspired me to finally read this since it meets requirements for three or four of them.
The main premise of the plot revolves around a challenge between two magicians and their opposing theories on the practice of magic. Rather than face each other, the two have been pitting apprentices and students against each other for an indeterminate time. It seems that quite some time has elapsed since the last challenge, but when one of them realizes he has a daughter, he decides to use her in the challenge, even when his opponent, Alexander, gives him a chance to bow out considering that the challenge only ends with death. Alexander quickly finds an orphan to teach, and thus Marco and Celia are set up as contestants in what will become a life long challenge (while neither of the older men is exactly admirable, I liked Alexander and his methods much more).
The Night Circus is one of those books that suddenly seemed to be everywhere: promoted in book stores, offered for special pricing on my Kindle, and gripped in people’s hands as they waited somewhere or other. So it had been on my radar for a while when I found a hardcover copy of the book at a used book sale. $1 seemed like a pretty good investment to see what the hype was about.