I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I have to say it did live up to my expectations. The Night Circus is hard to explain as there are just so many elements to it and the blurb gives almost nothing away. From the title you can ascertain that it is indeed about a Circus and everything that comes to mind when the word ‘Circus’ is mentioned. You may also have guessed that as it is called ‘The Night Circus’ it is indeed only open…at night.
The Night Circus is a story of romance, mystery and magic. Two magicians are to face a ‘challenge’ and what happens to the loser isn’t revealed until almost the end of the novel. Written in the third person, we experience chapters with almost every character and multiple time lines that all fit together in the end. We start with Celia Bowen when she is five, and we finish the story when she is in her mid-thirties. Although The Night Circus is a stand-alone novel the romantic elements do not feel like an ‘insta-love’ as so often is the case in young adult literature, simply because their love story has lasted almost twenty years in the scheme of things.
Along with the third person narrative interspersed throughout the novel are second person passages that explain the circus as if you are really there. The Circus itself is a mystery; therefore having it explained to you in that way really helps to build up an image of the Circus. These passages are also key to the plotline even though you don’t quite realise how until more things are explained.
Reading The Night Circus is very much like playing a game of ‘Jenga.’ With each new piece of information a brick is placed on top of the pile, and with every mystery a brick is taken away. However, you get to the final part of the novel and realise that the tower is way too high and the climax of the story has to topple it down. This is the part where you may be slightly disappointed. You’re still learning about the way of the circus and some things have started to piece together, but there are still bricks being taken and somehow everything still stands up. Just when you think everything is going to fall down, the tower stops swaying and you’re left pretty much where you began. I think there wasn’t quite enough closure, and the ‘competition’ wasn’t explained as well as it could have been – leaving it up to the imagination. It may have been a slightly laboured metaphor, but once you read it I guarantee that it won’t sound quite as ridiculous.
Overall, I still got completely caught up with the story and will have to buy myself a copy – as I found this gem in my school’s library – so that I can re-read my favourite parts. 4/5 A must read as long as you’re okay to fill in a couple of blanks on your own.