Originally published in 2011, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a book I have been meaning to read for quite a while. It’s a book I see mentioned quite often as being a favourite, and its title and premise is one I’ve been drawn to, so I finally got round to buying a copy recently!
‘The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.’
The opening sentences of The Night Circus are certainly enough to get your attention, and to hint at something magical and mysterious so it didn’t take me long to become immersed in this world as the story begins to unfold. Here we discover the world of ‘Le Cirque De Reves’, a circus which only opens between dusk and dawn, inviting its patrons to a grand and intriguing display of sights and sounds. As the opening passage confirms, it appears without warning, moving from city to city, making sudden appearances in fields all over the world. I enjoyed finding out more about the circus and the fascinating people who work there, and was caught up in an enchanting world of illusionists, contortionists, acrobats and more. But unbeknownst to its visitors, there is even more mystery to the circus than it appears. We learn that the origins of the circus are related to a rivalry between two magicians and their protégés who find themselves caught up in something of a game from which it is difficult to escape.
The events of this novel take place over a period of time from the late nineteenth century through to the early twentieth century in which we get to see the circus and its performers evolve through the years. As a fan of magical and mysterious stories this made for interesting reading and there are some fascinating characters to meet, who possesses some abilities which I enjoyed discovering. One of the key characters is Celia, a young woman who from childhood has been trained to perform illusions by her father, which includes some disturbing methods. I also particularly liked the story of Poppet and Widget, twins who were born into the circus, and the way in which they find a place in an unconventional world. Whilst there was not a lot of exploration outside of the circus the world within was vividly portrayed, transporting the reader into a whimsical, dreamlike world in which anything feels possible. And as there is a shift in relationship between the games key players, I became gripped by their stories and what impact it may have on the circus, and the futures of those whom call it home.
The Night Circus is an entertaining read with an intriguing premise which appealed to me as someone who enjoys being immersed in a fantastical world. I was interested to read that Morgenstern has a new novel due for publication later this year, so having enjoyed this I may look to add this to my TBR!