The synopsis: “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.”
I have a mental list of books that I will never forget, books that had an outstanding and exceptional impact on me. And guess what the newest tome to make the cut is?
I’ve noticed that here at I’ll Be the Judge, when I name what the best quality of a book is, it often seems to be the character development. While The Night Circus did boast interesting and complex characters, it diverges from that trend, because there’s no question about it: what shines brightest is the description and scene building. Any given chapter could be an example text for a description-centric session of a writing workshop. Erin Morgenstern would be best in her class that day. She consistently engages all five senses, and you feel the circus all around you in vivid and elaborate beauty.
I could tell before I even read the first page that the romance in this book was going to be a doozy, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was tantalizingly drawn out and slow-developing, but not in an annoying way. The chemistry was sparking right off the page. And in the moments when the sparks finally came together into fireworks, I was about to call for the smelling salts. It was all done very, very romantically and sticks in my mind almost like a fairy tale.
Basically, The Night Circus was everything that I love. I think the biggest reason it spoke to me so much was the sense of elegance and whimsy. It’s the kind of book that you would feel at home reading on a setee in a victorian mansion in France while wearing a silk dressing gown—or that can make you feel like you’re doing all of that, even when you sadly are not actually. And as you can maybe tell from the specificity of that image, I put a lot of spiritual energy into wishing for a Victorian mansion, so anything that makes me feel closer to such is more than welcome in my life.
The Boston Globe describes The Night Circus in two words: “A showstopper.” All the words I’ve used so far couldn’t put it better. I’m utterly impressed by Erin Morgenstern. How is she even a person. Omg. Omg. Omg i can’t even crying chills love explosion panic at the disco adjnifnewif
Squeee! For romance.
Lyrical for pretty pretty writing.
*NEW* Ka-Pow! Award for a killer closing line. This book is so good I’m creating new awards for it. I just reread the last sentence and got chills again. (No cheating and reading it before the end, of course. That would take out all the power of it.)