Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary: “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
It’s been a hot second since I read this book, but I remember it really vividly. Erin Morgenstern painted such a picture in my head of the circus and the characters. Her prose is absolutely gorgeous and I honestly can’t wait to read more of her works (do any exist, though?). I haven’t read prose that beautiful in a long time and I can definitely see why everyone raves about it. Seriously, this book is beautiful beautiful beautiful.
“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
As much as I loved this novel (and Celia and Marco and Bailey and Poppet), there were a few faults. For one, the time jumps were immensely confusing in the beginning, but gradually I became more understanding of the time lapses (though, I don’t think it was necessary at all). As well, I felt less connected to the characters and more connected to the setting. I felt that characters took second place to the plot, which isn’t how I run usually. I’m a huge fan of character-driven books and this was definitely plot-driven or setting-driven if that were even a thing.
“I am tired of trying to hold things together that cannot be held. Trying to control what cannot be controlled. I am tired of denying myself what I want for fear of breaking things I cannot fix. They will break no matter what we do.”
That being said, I loved Celia and Marco. Their relationship was really beautiful and I liked how the story didn’t revolve around them getting together, but yet their relationship had a huge role in how the story played out. It was never overwhelming or overpowering to the plot.
I also liked the dynamic between Bailey and Poppet (I think? Correct me if I’m wrong about who was who because…time), and especially watching Bailey grow up. I wish I had a stronger connection to them because I think it would have made it that much more special.
Though, the other characters I had little to no connection to and there were so many that I often lost track of who was who.
Honestly, I loved this book, but it was just weak in the character department. I highly recommend it just for the prose and the enchantment of the circus! (Which I really want to go to, but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist).
“We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”