The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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. As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms. But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.
Beautiful hysteria. It’s hard to put into words the mind-blowing adventure this story takes you on. It’s been two weeks now since I’ve read it and I’m still thinking about it constantly. It gives you a serious book hangover. I’ve never read a story that made me appreciate and reflect as much. This author delivered a masterpiece. I didn’t know a circus could be so intricate. This story did the opposite of everything I imagined. I thought it was going to be a Harry Potter style dual to the death, but it was so much more complex. Where I thought there would be only two main characters, more and more were introduced and developed until you felt like you were part of the circus. The continuous introduction of characters helped put into perspective how much really rode on these two magician’s shoulders. As you get to know and love each character, you start to understand just a part of who they are and what they are fighting for. The competition Marco and Celia are in is harder than any dual to the death because those are over in a matter of minutes while this drooling competition last decades. I love how somehow through the relentless tasks they come up with a way to respect and honor the opponent. I loved the complementing enchantments between fire and ice themes and using their powers for both long and short term protection for the remaining members of the circus. This was such a complex idea made simple that was highly entertaining and made me want to keep reading to figure out what the author was going to do next. I’d highly recommend this to paranormal and sci-fi lovers, along with mystery, romance, young adult and really it fits well in every genre and gives the reader a little of everything.
Celia Bowen – illusionist, mother committed suicide at 5 leaving her as an orphan with her father Hector “Prospero the Enchanter”, specialty is tangible manipulation
Marco – adopted by “grey suit”, intangible manipulation, became Chandresh accounting/assistant to keep close to the circus
Isobel – scout for Marco to report back with everything Celia is doing, tarot card reader, in love with Marco
Grey Suit = Alexander – no shadow, adopted and trained Marco to compete with Celia trained by Prosporo the Enchanter
Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre – night circus manager, helps with blueprints and ideas for new tents and enchantments for both Marco and Celia, Marco puts spell on to forget things
Mme. Tante Padva – “Aunt” helps interview and select Celia as the circus illusionist
Penelope Aislin Murray (Poppet) & Winston Aidan Murray (Widget) – twins perform kitten tricks, born minutes apart on opening night of the circus but on two different days, one can see into the future and one can see into the past because of this, Widget takes over Marco’s spot, the only two people in the circus that age
Bailey – was dared to sneak into Night Circus, collects Puppets glove as proof, ten years later attends circus grown to look for Puppet (Penelope), runs away from home to follow love, becomes circus manager by choice, takes over Celia’s spot
Miss Tsukiko (“to-see-key-ko”) – contortionist, previous victor in the dual
Friedrick (Herr) Thiessen – clock maker, clock = Van Strown, killed Tara
Burgess – reminds Celia of mother, dies by train, not confirmed but suicide hints, she knew something was off about circus but couldn’t understand “blew her mind”, asked the wrong people the right questions (possibly pushed by grey suit), surviving twin Lainie Burgess
Some of the enchantments: ice garden, paper animals, bonfire = safeguard, protected circus from sickness/aging except twins, breathing carousel animals, black candle wishing tree, train to move circus = no crew, wishing pond, labyrinth maze
Celia vs. Marco lasted over fifteen years, previous challenge lasted 37 years