The Night Circus, a whimsical & fantastical story by debut author Erin Morgenstern reads like a wonderful fairytale. Pitted against each other at a young age, Celia & Marco’s respective mentors offer their protégés up for a magical battle; a battle where the participants are not told who their opponent is. As all great love stories unfold, the story of Celia & Marco becomes a tale of star-crossed lovers. With the mysterious circus as the backdrop to this beautiful story, Morgenstern weaves the lives of many other significant players into the paths of these two key players.
Now that I have finished The Night Circus, I feel like I’ve missed something by not being a full-fledged rêveur by the end of it. The rêveurs in Morgenstern’s magical debut novel, are the diehard fans of Le Cirque de Rêves, or The Circus of Dreams. I fully delved into the story, following the lives of Celia and Marco (and all the additional characters). For some reason though, I just couldn’t get past the question in my head of WHY. Really, it’s not until the end of the story that you really find out why Celia & Marco are put into competition with each other in the first place, but I found myself wondering why? why? why? the whole way through.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored this book. The beautiful writing is all at once captivating as it is enchanting. Morgenstern’s vivid imagery allows the readers to easily visualize everything she sees in the world she has created. One of the many moments that stood out for me that illustrate this is her description of the bonfire being lit for the first time. That scene was, for lack of a better word, simply magical.
An interesting theme I picked up between Celia & Marco was the idea of nature vs nurture. Whether we’re talking about magic in the context of the book, or any other talent in the general sense, it’s an age-old debate about whether one is born with said talent, or if greatness can be taught. I also enjoyed the flirtatious tension between the two opponents, the culmination of said tension in the ballroom scene was delicious. The meshing of other characters into the story was interestingly handled. For most of the novel, these outside characters seemingly live their own lives, their story being told parallel to the main characters’ until Morgenstern decides to interweave them together. Although I found the constant date-jumping a bit confusing to follow (I had to constantly check and re-check what date the chapter took place in), it served its purpose in keeping separate stories separate, and tying them in when it was time.
All-in-all, The Night Circus is a beautiful read. Notwithstanding my hang-up about the reasoning behind the competition, I thoroughly enjoyed my journey to Le Cirque de Rêves. Morgenstern has a brilliantly vivid imagination, turning this mysterious dream into reality for her readers.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.5/5 stars)