The bar has certainly been set high for my first book of 2012. The world created by Morgenstern in The Night Circus is intricate, detailed, precise and mesmerizing. I was captivated from the first chapter and am in awe of Morgenstern’s skill in weaving a truly good story with such a wonderfully imagined world.
The Night Circus is the story of two magician opponents, Celia and Marco, and the magical circus that becomes the chessboard for their pre-ordained match of power and skill. As powerful as these two magicians are, they are very much slaves to their respective teachers and to the game that defines and limits their lives. Their slow acknowledgement of their love for each other serves only to make the game more limiting as they wish for freedom.
As much as Celia and Marco are key in this story, the novel wouldn’t be half as good without Le Cirque des Rêves, the mysterious circus dressed in black and white that is in many ways the third protagonist of the novel. More than a venue, the circus is something that draws all the characters together, that intrigues attendees and that confounds even its creators.
Erin Morgenstern has mastered world creation and effective descriptions in The Night Circus. She is clearly a writer with a strong artistic bent, and she uses her love of aesthetic well. My favourite example is Celia’s dress at a party, which changes colour to match the clothing of person closest. The imagery is used to stunning effect throughout the scene (which I won’t spoil here!).
Finally, I read the hardcover edition published by Doubleday Canada, and the production of the book is just fabulous! Obviously the designer had read the book, which resulted in the gorgeous and hugely appropriate jacket and colour scheme. Definitely made my reading experience much more enjoyable.