Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Night Circus

The Night Circus:
By: Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus

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.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful book. I'm going to keep this review vague because this book really is one that you should go into knowing little-to-nothing about. I will say that it has all of the following: imagery, mood, ambiance, magic, mystery, and whimsy.
The multiple perspectives, third (and occasionally second) person narration, and the variation of the timeline set the perfect tone for this story. There was so much variety in the way that the story was told and the characters it was told through, but together they melded into something different and wonderful.
This book enchants first and foremost with its atmosphere. It is an air of mystery that lends itself to the transcendent qualities of this particular method of story-telling. Luscious descriptions and unique details make this book unlike anything and everything else. I love reading books that are this organically original. It isn't concerned with its own originality, it just is what it is supposed to be.
I love how even the narrative enforces the idea that sometimes not knowing all of the gears behind why a thing is the way it is can make you appreciate it more. The perspectives are almost equally split between people who know the mysteries behind the circus (Celia, Marcus, Isabelle) and the people who are experiencing the magic of it for the first time (Bailey, Herr Thiessen, and the second-person perspective chapters).
I am not going to talk about the characters because I think it's better stumble upon them in the order the book intends you to meet them. That's the best way to meet them to understand them as you have to at first.
This book actively dissects many different concepts while telling this whimsical story. It talks about good and evil and gray areas, the importance of stories, fate, dreams, and reality. This is what great stories do, they give you a unique and engaging platform upon which to look at the world around you.
I love this book because it is dreamlike and fascinating and engaging. I'm convinced this is one of the most well-crafted books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

*Helpful Hint: This audiobook is especially fantastic. It's narrated by Jim Dale (you know, the guy who did the Harry Potter audiobooks).*
"I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark."
"Such pain is not lived with, it is only endured."
"You're not destined or chosen. I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it's not true. You're in the right place at the right time and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes, that's enough."
"Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act?"
"The truest tales require time and familiarity to become what they are."
"Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast...someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. It's in the listener and for each and every ear it will be different and it will affect them in ways they can never predict, from the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift."

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