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.
Also known as the Night Circus, it is the brainchild of a theatrical producer named M Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre, at the subtle bidding of a mysterious man in grey known as Mr. A. H---; (though his first name appears to be Alexander) but it is also the creation of Marco and Celia, both of who, over the years, become passionately embroiled in its performances and acts, as well as, inevitably, with each other.
Unbeknownst to them, though, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
While the stakes appear to be high, ultimately I cared less for the lovers and only kept turning the pages for the world that author Erin Morgenstern has created here. Primarily set in some alternate world of the late 19th century, where magic appears to exist, she crafts a brilliant world of smells, textures and even tastes. While the overreaching tone of the book is darkness (and the Circus, which forgoes what we traditionally know of them -primarily it’s wild color tones-, is created in black and white, a perfect parable to the game in which both Marco and Celia have been caught up in), she brings a brightness to her world that has advantages of working it's way into the readers soul.
Also, the supporting players, such as clockmaker Friedrick Thissen, contortionist Tsukiko, the redheaded twins Poppet and Widget and even Bailey Clarke seem to interest the author more, as they come fully realized at times -more so than the lovers. Still, it’s a fully realized alternate reality and very enjoyable novel that moves to its rather predictable ending –but that, in the end, did not really bother me.