Friday, December 30, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was curious about this book and then a friend of mine went on and on about how it's the best book ever, so I decided to read it.

I like books about magic, stories that can integrate the magic into the story in such a way that it feels natural and normal.  This book was full of magic.

Two competitive magicians set up a challenge between their students.  Once the students are older they end up involved in a circus.  A circus that only performs at night and lasts until dawn.  Everything in the circus is black and white, and there are many tents, each with some beautiful, magical treasures inside. 

I loved the way the words created images in my mind.  The story is so well written that I could easily immerse myself in this circus as I read the story.  I used the word "atmospheric" to describe this book. It felt dreamy and misty and each time I picked up the book I felt as if I was drifting into this special world again.

One element of the story that I especially liked were the people who followed the circus, the Revers.  They loved the circus so much they would travel around the country, sometimes across the ocean to visit the circus.  They made friends with other followers of the circus and they traveled together.  "We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams from place to place," one of these Revers explains.  I could relate too well with these people.  For years, I've followed my favorite bands around the country and to Europe.  Some of my best friends are people I've met along these travels, other people who understand what it's like to chase dreams.  This gave me a stronger understanding of these people and their love for this beautiful circus. 

What I didn't like about the story though was I never fully understood "the challenge."  I don't think I was supposed to understand because even the people involved said several times that they didn't understand the rules or the parameters.  As a reader, this became frustrating to me as the book reached an end.  I assumed as I was reading this that it would eventually be explained.  I felt the ending was unsatisfying.  I'm not going to give away from happened but the resolution felt too vague to me.  I had no idea as to expect, but I certainly didn't expect what did happen.

This is one of those books I may need to read again, just to get a better understanding as to what happened. 

But I did enjoy the book.  Very well written, very interesting story.  And as I said at the beginning, full of magic, always a good thing.

finished reading: Dec. 30, 2011

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