The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern

While I am not into “Magic” and “Fantasy” books, I have to say that The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern grabbed my attention from the start.  The book is about two individuals who are chosen when they are young to be taught special skills (i.e., magic) with the premise that they will be competing against one another at some point. 

Celia Bowen is the daughter that Hector Bowen conceives out of wedlock.  Celia appears in his dressing room theater at the age of five and quickly he sees she has inherited his abilities.  Marco is plucked out of an orphanage and learns about the craft of magic mostly through reading and travel.  When the two first meet, they do not immediately realize that they are opponents.  Marco figures this out quickly and Celia is not aware until years later.

Both Celia and Marco are part of The Night Circus.  Celia is an illusionist although her talents are not illusionary – they are real.  Marco serves as the assistant to the Night Circus Owner.  Each of them put their marks on the circus not realizing that their moves impact others in the circus as well.  They don’t know when the game begins or how it will end, and that uncertainty keeps the reader engaged.

The Description of the Night Circus is unique and genuinely interesting.  I enjoyed exploring that world of fantasy.  The author has a vivid imagination dreaming up a circus that is only open at night.  Given that it is a Night Circus it is devoid of color – only black and white.  Brilliant! 

Other characters play important roles in the story.  I would have liked to see the abilities of Poppet and Widget chronicled in a bit more detail.  I understand why Bailey enters the picture, but that character feels a little forced to me.  While I like the ending, I felt as if it could have been a little stronger.  And I would also note that the book drags on a bit once Celia and Marco know they are opponents.  I would have preferred to get to the planned competition a little sooner.

I imagine if The Night Circus were to become a movie the ending would prove to be strong enough and the characters very colorful.  I would want to see such a movie but I would be glad to have read the book first.