The circus arrives without warning. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. A black sign painted in white letters hangs upon the gates.
“Opens at Nightfall. Closes at Dawn.”
Wander through endless tents full of fantastic spectacles and performers. Luscious gardens made of ice, enchanted living carousel animals, mazes of clouds that defy gravity, acrobats that never fall. Each tent is created as an enchanted love letter shared between two magicians bound to each other for life but forced apart by their respective sides, pitted against each other in a magical battle that spans their entire lives. The circus is their playing field and their game has no rules.
Reading Morgenstern’s first novel, The Night Circus, is like floating through time and space, following the specter of a magical circus. Simultaneously dreamlike and more vivid than regular life, the real main character of the book is neither Celia the Illusionist nor Marco the Secret Magician but Le Cirque des Reves, The Circus of Dreams. The details of life in and around the circus consume the reader.
The hype surrounding The Night Circus has been extensive but well deserved. For an extra treat, try listening to it on audio; the sublime narration of Jim Dale (who also narrated all seven Harry Potter audio books and the sadly cancelled show Pushing Daisies) breathes an extra dose of magic into an already extrordinary book.
Check out this preview to get into a more magical mood: