Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Suspending Disbelief and Falling In: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I confess...I'd delayed reading this one.  A dear friend recommended it but we've had really different responses to books in the past so I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it.  I also read that it had a ton of characters and I'm memory-challenged when it comes to keeping folks straight.  But a fellow blogger is doing it for her "book club" and that gave me an added incentive (Hi to Julie).

Magic abounds in this novel.  The circus is almost another character and it plays home to two young people who have been trained to take part in a very undefined form of battle.  As a performer trained by her father, Celia is taught to make her magic appear to be "tricks" when in fact she truly can transform items into birds, change the color and material of her dress, and even heal her own injuries.  Marco's teacher found him in an orphanage and his strength is taking his target to a magical fantasy world.  The book also includes others who helped build the circus and a few of its fans.

The book seems to have pretty polarized reviews with folks either loving or hating it.  In my opinion, the writing is simply stunning.  It is not a fast-paced read, not a ton "happens" for much of the book, but that's okay by me although I know it isn't a fit for everyone.  I was less-interested in the book's billing as a love story (another complaint among readers is that it doesn't really fit in that realm despite the book jacket's promises) and more in just falling into the circus.

For me, four stars and maybe even four and a half.  You need to be fully willing to suspend disbelief and buy into the magic.  You also need to be okay with more detail than plot.  I will say that there ARE a lot of characters, and many do take center stage in at least one chapter, but I had no issues keeping everyone straight.  Recommend to folks who just like beautiful writing and are fine with slower plots.

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