The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is an ambitious debut set at the turn of the 19th century that provides a feast for the senses. Immersive passages told in present tense describe the wonders and sights of The Night Circus, open only from dusk until dawn and completely themed in black and white. Erin Morgenstern’s circus is more than an ordinary circus, there are no sketchy carnies here, instead it is classy like Cirque Du Soleil. The venue serves as a chessboard for a magical competition between illusionist Celia and Marco, an assistant who is more than he seems.
Perhaps my favorite part about The Night Circus is the setting as a character. With lush prose, Morgenstern breathes life into le Cirque de Reves, so it is more than a back drop for this magical tale. The experience is completely sensory. The descriptions are so detailed you can practically taste the food sold along the midway and picture the spectacles in each of the tents. Le Cirque de Reves absolutely drives the tale. In fact there are interludes throughout the book where the reader is able to experience the circus first hand, as the interludes are told from the point of view of the reader.
The Night Circus is not the sort of book one should tear through, but rather you should savor reading Morgenstern’s prose instead. In fact, I believe this book to be worthy of a re-read. The first time you read it, read it for the plot and Celia and Marco’s story. The second time, read The Night Circus for the scrumptious prose, Morgenstern is quite the wordsmith.
This is the perfect book for visual readers — those who must be able to visualize things perfectly and those who do not need constant action. If you are content to put your explosions aside and let your mind open to sensory delights, pick up The Night Circus this fall.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.