A novel as magical as this, should not go unnoticed. Do you want to feel like a child again? Did you always love the circus, even though you may never have gone to one? After reading this story, did you consider yourself a rêveur? I know I did. I would like to dress like one and see if anyone notices! I loved this book so much because it played with your mind and dreams—it is not an ordinary circus with clowns and ringmasters, it is one that involves magic.
Along with the enchantments there is also an untold secret that weaves itself through the story, as we encounter Celia and Marco who grow up learning to train themselves using their special talents. As they get older they realize their powers are meant to be part of a challenging “game”, where there can only be one winner. When they meet face to face and realize they are opponents, the combat gets harder to accept because they eventually fall in love with one another.
There are two parts to the tale that are connected and come together in the end. The first one deals with Celia and Marco. In the second we are introduced to Bailey, who has an important role in keeping the circus alive but he doesn’t know it yet. He meets the twins Poppet and Widget who reveal the wonderful, mysterious world of their skills and life at the circus.
There are many important people in this novel who are needed to guarantee that the mechanisms of the circus work, while convincing the general public that nothing is amiss: there is Isobel, the fortune-teller; Tskiko, the contortionist; sisters Lainie and Tara Burgess; Mme Padva; Mr. Barris and Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre (who is responsible for the creation of the circus itself). The real masterminds behind the whole challenge falls to Celia’s father, Hector Bowen and a man he competes against named Mr. A. H., who always wears a grey suit. Both men use Celia and Marco as pawns in their game, but Hector is selfish and takes everything to the extreme, not caring about the consequences that may befall anyone who has ties to the circus.
Time is a recurring theme in this book—almost as if it is a character itself. We notice how the clock maker (Herr Friedrick Thiessen) designs a master clock for the entrance to the circus and that all his clocks have some sort of connection to everything else, if not symbolizing something necessary. Even the performers in the circus realize that they have not aged physically since they joined. I can definitely see The Night Circus being made into a movie because of how descriptive the scenes are.
Several titles came to mind when I read this novel. The circus aspect brought up Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, even though it does not have any magical elements and takes place in a different time frame (there are tents and a romance, though). The magical theme of Morgenstern’s book conjures up thoughts of Harry Potter and even the movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The fact that each character in The Night Circus posesses a special power, reminds me of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
This is Morgenstern’s first novel, so I’m curious to see what other books she might write in the future. If they are anything remotely close to this story, I would be happy to read it! What did you feel about it?
Stay tuned for next month’s title: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay