In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêvesdelights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.
Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the rêveurs – the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter’s daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer’s apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love…
I have to admit that at first this book just didn’t appeal to me, especially with the hype of it being set to be ‘the publishing sensation of 2011’. However, my reviewing instinct kicked in, and when I saw it offered on vine, I decided I should give it a go. And I have to say I was glad I did.
The main storyline is about a ‘competition’ between two magicians, which is played out through two young people, Celia and Marco. It’s the setting, however, which makes this book come alive. The Night Circus is a magical circus like no other, and it’s so well described that you find yourself wishing to experience it. The circus arrives in 1886, but the storyline is also set before and after this time. I understand some have found it a little confusing, but I managed to follow ok.
I found myself really drawn into the book, enjoying the various characters, and loving the setting. I especially fell in love with the Murray twins. This is most certainly a fantasy book, but if that’s something you enjoy, it has a rather magical feeling to it. From not appealing to me at all, it has become one of my favourite books of the year.