The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.Read more...
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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway -- a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love -- a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-05-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus. Celia is a five-year-old with untrained psychokinetic powers when she is unceremoniously dumped on her unsuspecting father, Hector Bowen, better known as Le Cirque des Reves' Prospero the Entertainer. Hector immediately hatches a sinister scheme for Celia: pit her against a rival's young magician in an epic battle of magic that will, by design, result in the death of one of the players, though neither Celia nor her adversary, Marco, is informed of the inevitable outcome. What neither Hector nor his rival count on is that Celia and Marco will eventually fall in love. Their mentors—Marco's mentor, Alexander, plucked him from the London streets due to his psychic abilities—attempt to intervene with little success as Celia and Marco barrel toward an unexpected and oddly fitting conclusion. Supporting characters—such as Bailey, a farm boy who befriends a set of twins born into the circus who will drastically influence his future; Isobel, a circus employee and onetime girlfriend of Marco's; and theatrical producer Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre—are perfectly realized and live easily in a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom. This is an electric debut on par with Special Topics in Calamity Physics. (Sept.)
Le cirque de debut
Fans of J.K. Rowling, Susanna Clarke and all forms of magical realism—rejoice. Erin Morgenstern’s long-awaited and much buzzed-about debut The Night Circus has all the makings of a historical-fantasy-for-adults hit: chronologically complicated and interweaving plotlines, wide-eyed descriptions of ever-changing labyrinths, a turn-of-the-20th-century European setting and a forbidden love practically swelling with Hollywood appeal. (Indeed, a Harry Potter producer has already snapped up film rights.) But perhaps most importantly, it creates a fantastical world so fully imagined and captivating, one cannot help but be swept along for the ride.
The story begins when Celia, a five-year-old with an already keen supernatural power, goes to live with her father, Prospero the Enchanter, a magician and key member of the world’s oddest, most awe-inspiring traveling circus: Le Cirque des Rêves. Sensing his daughter’s untapped power, Prospero pits Celia against another magician in a years-long (and exceedingly dangerous) battle of skill. Her opponent is Marco, a budding magician who begins studying the circus in order to learn his rival’s ways. But what neither he nor Celia anticipates is how much they will grow to like, and eventually love, one another—launching the novel into an age-old tale of star-crossed romance.
Intertwined with the lovers’ narrative are stories of other circus fans and workers—among them Friedrick Thiessen, Le Cirque des Rêves’ most enthusiastic scholar; Isobel, driven by unrequited love for Marco; and Bailey, a farm boy with a wanderlust who observes one magical performance and embarks upon a lifetime obsession.
This first-time novelist is heavy on description, and readers may find themselves skimming details about vanishing contortionists and mystical rainstorms to get back to the actual plot and characters. But she is also dogged in her pursuit of epic love and tragedy. Once you’ve entered Morgenstern’s world, you are not likely to forget it.
Read our interview with Erin Morgenstern.