On My Bookshelf: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5

Erin Morgenstern weaves a captivating story in The Night Circus, in which two magicians engage in a lifelong duel. Trained from youth by their masters, they must continue the game even as they fall in love. Eventually, however, one of them must lose. But losing means dying and, even worse, destroying the entire structure of the game–The Night Circus–and the lives of their found family.

If I had stopped reading this book around page 100, I might have given it three stars. It had gorgeous imagery by an obviously talented writer, but I felt like nothing much had really happened. By the end, I was enthralled. The Night Circus isn’t a book so much as a beautiful, bittersweet dream. An enormous cast of characters enriched the story and raised the stakes. Most people think death is the worst thing that could happen, but Morgenstern convinces the reader that it’s the least of worries. To lose the game is to die, but it also means losing the love of your life and destroying the lives of hundreds of people that have become family. I started The Night Circus at the suggestion of a friend and emerged a different person.

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. 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 what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

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