The Night Circus
2011 – Adult Fiction – Magical Realism/Fantasy
When The Night Circus was first released, it quickly became the hottest book around. People talked it up and recommended it to their friends. Libraries planned programs around it. Everyone was reading it. In fact, it was even chosen as Kentucky’s One Book One Bluegrass book of the year in 2013. To celebrate, Lexington Public Library partnered with Joseph-Beth Booksellers and other local businesses to host a Night Circus Gala here in Lexington, KY. Author Erin Morgenstern was in attendance and it was a resounding success. Which brought even more publicity to the book.
Well, typical of me, I’m just now getting to it. Pretty surprisingly though, I knew next to nothing about it going in. I didn’t attend the Gala, I hadn’t read reviews, and I managed to keep people from spoiling it. I’m so glad I did, because this book is a treat.
The Story: Cloaked by the secrecy of night, Chandresh Christophe Lefevre brings together a diverse group of individuals at one of his infamous Midnight Dinners. This meeting is different, however, as Chandresh is seeking business partners to bring to life a most unusual type of circus. Little does he know that forces have been working behind the scenes for years in preparation for a type of game. The circus will be the venue. The players are irrevocably bound to one another. And the stakes are high. Beyond the surface smells of caramel and the shallow delights of the acrobats and fortune teller lies a secret much more dangerous than anyone knows. The balance of the circus – and everyone in it – is hanging by a thread. Welcome to Le Cirque des Reves.
The Opening Line: The circus arrives without warning.
What I Loved: My favorite books are atmospheric. Haunted mansions, creepy graveyards, a small town hiding a big secret. In this same way, The Night Circus effortlessly pulled me in and made me feel as though I were walking the pathways between the tents. I could see the bonfire, smell the caramel apples, shiver in the cool predawn air. The whole book held a sense of exploration and mystery that drew me in and wouldn’t let go.
What I Didn’t Love: The book’s structure was set up in such a way that the reader is given the story in small snippets, which aren’t in chronological order. For me, this often meant returning to the beginning of the section to see what time period it fell in. It was hard to keep track of what happened when, so I eventually just stopped paying much attention to it. I still understood the story, so no worries there.
Final Thoughts: For me, this was such a great journey into the magical and mystical. Think of the magic you attributed to the circus when you were little, then multiply that by a lot. That is The Night Circus. Romance, suspense, atmosphere – it’s all here. I truly want The Night Circus to pop up in my town, to explore the tents and meet the people and experience the magic. This is such a great novel. Highly recommended.