The ink on this paper spun a world of magic and wonder . . . a visually appealing adventure.
Indulge yourself in a late 1800s fantasy where two sparring magicians train their young apprentices, Celia and Marco, to compete in a high-stakes duel. The stage for this showdown is the mysterious and alluring night circus, known as Le Cirque des Reves–The Circus of Dreams.
But Erin Morgenstern’s duelers, who possess talents beyond belief, tangle themselves in a web even more complex than battle–falling in love.
Quality of Story: 4.75/5
Morgenstern’s style was unique and beautiful, albeit way out of my comfort zone. Though her direction was unpredictable, she never failed to envelop me in her world of circus tents, illusions, and wars of passion and tragedy. In essence, she’s a fantastic writer. Read it.
So why only 4.75/5? Insta-love. Marco sees Celia’s beauty and leaps from gawking at her to boldly professing his love. (I may be exaggerating.) Essentially, their romance is built on the reader assuming that they’re both desperately in love despite hardly ever speaking or spending time together. Was it entirely unrealistic and mushy? Yes. Was it utterly romantic, making you melt with each moment? Absolutely.
Quality of Characters: 5/5
What a cast. I would’ve drawn and painted them all. I applaud you, Morgenstern.
My ultra-feminine persona yearned to be Celia, waltzing in her extravagant gowns while flicking a finger to turn a piece of paper into a flock of doves. And her character showed a heroine’s strength was not tied to brute force or muscle.
But Tsukiko–what vibrant, small voice. As soon as the Asian contortionist with her numerous tattoos and seductive grace entered the scene, I wanted to unearth her backstory. Now that my curiosity is satisfied, I vote that we petition for a book on Tsukiko.
Quality of World: 5/5
100% yes. Just like Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone,” I lost track of time while exploring Le Cirque des Reves. I wandered through the Ice Garden, gazed up at the tree of flaming candles, and trekked through the black-and-white landscape while wearing the infamous red scarf of a proper rêveur. If only I could have tasted the chocolate mice or the whipping-topped hot cocoa.
Writing Style? I’m down.
Each third-person POV jumped from the past to the future, from characters explored many times over to those that got only one glimpse in the spotlight. Some head-hopping occurred, but I won’t fault the author on that. Each word deftly placed, each sentence braided carefully until the setting became its own entity, as vital as the characters driving it–in a fiction full of magic, that bit was Morgenstern’s own, and it was real.