Book Club: The Night Circus

“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus. You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

There had been a bit of anxiousness over this Book Club, not because of the chosen book, but because we weren’t sure if anything would be able to live up to the last one, which everyone had loved so much.  But, luckily, we weren’t disappointed.

The Night Circus is the story of Celia and Marco, who both possess magic. As children they are bound together, never having met, into a mysterious competition which tests both their magical abilities until, somehow, there is a winner. The setting for the competition, unbeknownst to everyone else, is Le Cirque des Rêves.

“Have you seen the contraptions these magicians build to accomplish the most mundane feats? They are a bunch of fish covered in feathers trying to convince the public they can fly. I am simply a bird in their midst.”

Everyone really enjoyed this book – it was deemed a well paced, easy to read story, with lots of well thought out descriptions of the circus and the magical illusions created by Marco and Celia – it really spurred my imagination. We all agreed we would most certainly want to visit The Night Circus. I had thought the focus of the book would be mainly on Marco and Celia, being the ones involved in the magic competition, but there were in fact so many other characters who all had a role to play, and the narrative shifted across many different points of view. Because of this, we felt there wasn’t enough character development, simply because there were too many to describe any in great detail, though we still had our favourites – Celia, Mr Barris, Friedrick, and the young twins in particular.

The narrative also jumped between two different time periods, which we all found a little confusing. The second narrative seemed to be the weaker of the two, introducing the character of Baily, and we struggled to understand how he really fitted in with the story of the circus. It just seemed a little disjointed, though this didn’t detract from anyones enjoyment of the book, and I think overall the ending was satisfying, though there were one or two unanswered questions (though I guess that is how it should be with a story like this.)

There was so much going on in this story, it ironically meant there wasn’t enough. We liked the characters so much we all just wanted to know more about them; for them to be fleshed out a little more, and this was probably our only real criticism, but I suppose it isn’t really a criticism at all, as the story and the people in it were clearly interesting enough for us to want more. An entertaining read – four stars.

 

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