26 April 2012
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Book: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; narrated by Jim Dale
Summary: A mystical circus that is only open at night is the venue for a competition between two young magicians. But if they fall in love, theirs aren't the only lives that hang in the balance.
Characters: The circus becomes the venue for a competition between two young magicians, Marco and Celia. They are both bound to the challenge at a young age and there is no way out. Both are immediately easy to like. Celia has natural magical ability and after her mother commits suicide, she lives with her magician father who is careless and abusive (though, not always in obvious ways). Marco is chosen from an orphanage to be trained by Alexander, Celia's father's rival. He's smart and ambitious, but also pulled into something that is bigger than he could ever imagine.
Even though I like Celia and Marco, my favorite characters were the twins, Poppit and Widget, and the boy they meet in Connecticut: Bailey. I loved their story, how it weaved between the magic and the competition and then pulled everything together at the end. I also loved the connection between Poppit and Bailey far more than the romance between Celia and Marco. My only complaint about this book is that I never got the Bailey and Poppit moment that I wanted.
Plot/Pacing/Structure: The book is long and weaves so many storylines together. But it's magical. The pace is slow, but the story is never boring. There was so much going on and I was curious from the very beginning how everything would come together. Because the story jumps around between time and place, it might be helpful to read a paper copy first, but the audiobook was absolutely great. Jim Dale is my favorite narrator and his voice added magic to an already magical tale.
Moments I Loved: Every so often, there would be a chapter told in second person (You enter the circus. You wish you never had to leave. etc). It was potentially awkward, but I loved these chapters and it really helped bring the circus alive. It felt like I was attending and, man, did I want to actaully attend.
I also loved all the moments between Bailey and Poppit, especially when she visits him on the farm and asks him to come with the Circus. My heart... oh, my heart was so happy.
WTF Moments (potential spoilers): One of the sisters is hit by a train and I wasn't sure what was actually happening in that scene. I'll have to read a print copy. I wasn't clear on if it was truly an accident or if Alexander and/or Prospero (Celia's father) intentionally led her to her death.
Marco is involved in the circus through his boss, Mr. Lefevre, who is the proprietor of the circus. Mr. Lefevre is basically driven crazy by all the unexplainable happenings surrounding the circus. Marco maniuplates his mind to stay in control and keep his connection to the circus and part of me wished that he had just explained things to Mr. Lefevre. Seeing all those years of his life wasted on drinking made me incredibly sad.
Overall: Magical and beautifully written. It is not something I would normally pick up, but I try to take chances with audiobooks and I am so glad I read this. It is one of the best books I have ever read and I can't wait to read a paper copy.
Reading Challenges: This book counts toward the following challenge: Literary for the Eclectic Reader. Track all my progress on my 2012 Challenges page.