REVIEW: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (proof)

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern

ISBN: 9781846555244
Format: Trade Paperback
Imprint: Harvill/Secker
Published: 3rdOctober 2011

In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, the Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. There are contortionists, performing cats, carousels and illusionists – all the trappings of an ordinary circus. But this is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the rêveurs – the dreamers. And who is the sinister man in the grey suit who watches over it all? Behind the scenes, a dangerous game is being played out by two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who, at the behest of their masters, are forced to test the very limits of the imagination – and of love.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Since Twilight brought the romance back to fiction in the literary scene there has been an explosion of ‘paranormal romance’ that seems to want to profit from Stephanie Meyer’s success.
From Vampire Academy to True Blood, from sexy vampires to sexy werewolves, the genre has been flooded with ‘TwiHards’. Now, along comes the real thing.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a tapestry of brilliant threads, woven together into something that seems somehow more than the sum of its parts.
The language itself is sublime, more literate than most, but the book’s true beauty lies deep within the narrative. The way the descriptives tie together, the way the writer draws you in and creates visuals unlike any other book; the way the circus becomes as much a character as any other within the story; the hauntingly beautiful prose: all these facets combine to create a feast for the senses that transcends the normal reading experience.
To look at this book purely as something to read is to do it a disservice. It needs to be approached from an experiential perspective, for it truly is more an experience than just a book.
Within the pages of The Night Circus, Morgenstern has created a mythos, a new world for readers to inhabit, and a tragically flawed love that is written without the angst so prevalent in most of today’s offerings. Her writing style is literate, while still accessible; captivating, while still easy-to-read. While it is unlikely to create a fan-base as rabid as Twilight managed after four books, it will surely win over many, many readers.
If you read this with expectations of something ordinary, you will be delighted, and if you expect something great, you will still be pleasantly surprised.
A resounding eight out of ten for this wonderful new talent.
Geoff Brown

The Night Circus will be available from Dymocks Bendigo, and all good bookstores, from the third of October 2011. Thanks to Dymocks for the review copy.

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