★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
If there is one recommendation I always ignore, it is those of the Guardian, or The Times; the ones that make it to the book covers. A load of one word wonders that never actually seem to capture the true nature of the book. Even on the front cover on Night Circus, the words ‘dazzling’ and ‘enchanting’ really don’t do it justice. I’ve seen your empty praise on countless books, how is this one to dazzle me over any other book? But Night Circus is just that – dazzling and enchanting. It has a dark dream-like quality that appears to follow around the subject of illusionists. It is almost jarring to read. The first chapter is written entirely in second person, which can really grate on you. But it completely sets the scene for the rest of the book. From the first paragraph on, you think that this book will be something else. You would be correct.
Maybe it’s not even the first paragraph. I’m a firm believer in strong beginning sentences. It is the easiest thing in the whole book to get right – so if the first one is shit you can pretty much put the book down right then and there, because this author is terrible.
‘The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.’
Isn’t that something you can just picture Morgan Freeman saying? Minus the ‘picture’.
I found so many interesting relationships in this book. Strangely enough I wasn’t at all interested in the main relationship between what’s-his-face and what’s-her-name. Eugh I really can’t think of their names right now… Anyway the most interesting one to me was that of the Burgess sisters. Lainie and Tara – the sort of siblings who, if they were one person, would make the perfect human. Tara actually had the perfect explanation but I’ve been searching for the passage for ten minutes now and short of re-reading the whole book, I’ll never find it. Anyway it went something along the lines of catching each other’s short comings. And Tara being the one who saw in details while Lainie saw in scope – which was SPOILER the crux of their terrible little tragedy. Moving along.
Be warned, despite my ravings, this book is not for everyone. The plot isn’t a strong factor. A lot rides on imagery and dialogue, and a slightly warped time frame. Actually I’m still not sure I understand the time frame. There is probably a reason for that – a metaphor for the Narnia-like aspect of the circus. A place in its own world, with it’s own laws of physics. Mostly I just felt a bit sad abut everything. Everything ends, every storyline, ever relationship, in a bittersweet conclusion. Yeah they are happy – but you feel like the really shouldn’t be. I guess if you aren’t aging and get to drink mulled cider every working night of your life, you really wouldn’t have to feign happiness.