“I find I think of myself not as a writer so much as someone who provides a gateway, a tangential route for readers to reach the circus. To visit the circus again, if only in their minds, when they are unable to attend it physically. I relay it through printed words on crumpled newsprint, words that they can read again and again, returning to the circus whenever they wish, regardless of time of day or physical location. Transporting them at will.
When put that way, it sounds rather like magic, doesn’t it?”
Though this quote is actually said by one of the characters regarding the circus within the story, it is equally true of the author who has just stolen my heart.
My god was this a good book. No, a great one. I’ve not felt so involved or entranced by a story or a place since Harry Potter and I can honestly say that it wasn’t until several books in that I felt engulfed by the world and it’s inhabitants.
I believe that one of the hallmarks of a worthwhile book is that when you near the final pages your heart begins to hum in your chest and as the last words fall, instead of closing the cover you find yourself returning to the beginning to experience it once more. Admittedly I did close my copy, but only so I could hug it and cry a little before flipping back to reread my entrance to this tale.
The story surrounds Celia and Marco, young illusionists who’ve been pitted against one another by their teachers in a secret game of magic. Their venue, the night circus, is encapsulated in white and black, housing all manner of oddities and strange sorts. They grow from children into adulthood until they stop aging all together as their lives and magic become hopelessly entangled, complex and wonderful. The many characters of this novel are varied, intriguing and whole in the way that the best are. In an endeavor to not ruin this spectacular tale I’ll remain vague and simply say that this story is both fantasy/romance/mystery and a little something else that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’ve truly never read anything quite like it and I can’t express how happy I was by that.
A highly stupendous experience. I absolutely could not recommend it more highly.