I thought this photo I took of a sunset in Kandy, Sri Lanka had some of the magic that my next book has. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a remarkable book. I had been avoiding reading it for some time to be honest – I am always a bit suspicious of hype and a lot of marketing around a release as was the case here. I had also seen some quite mixed reviews of this book which meant it went down my list. However, when I saw it for £3.99 in Sainsbury’s, it just slipped into my basket! Since then, I have been absolutely glued to it – I finished it in less than 48 hours.
I have seen the genre of this book described as magical realism. I’d be more tempted to add it to the fantasy pile myself. I suppose some books just defy easy labels and so who are we to force them into a particular box? What The Night Circus did remind me of was Neil Gaiman’s books and also Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I’ve seen some reviews comparing it with Twilight. I think this is a little unfair as The Night Circus is much better written and plotted than the Twilight books in my opinion. However, that strange quality in Twilight of drawing you into a compulsive love story, despite yourself (and no matter how badly written or unfeasible it is), is also present here though.
The Night Circus is so enchanting and took me completely by surprise. It is a beautiful love story essentially, perfect for curling up with on a stormy night as I did. The imagery is so cinematic I’ll eat my hat if a film isn’t made of it as some point. Celia and Marco are both trained by their respective father-figures in the art of magic. They are trained in drastically different ways however, both growing up to battle each other in a perverted game of one-upmanship between the mysterious Mr A.H and Prospero the Enchanter. The stage for this game is the wonderful Night Circus, which travels around the world and is only opens at nightfall. My only real criticism of the book is that the time-slip device becomes somewhat confusing towards the end of the book, but not enough to spoil my enjoyment. For once, this was a book that lived up to the hype for me!