What a lovely surprise this book was! My neighbour Susan gave me a copy of The Night Circus to borrow, and my first impression of the cover was that had the potential to be really, really weird (as a side note, the cover image to the right is not the cover of Susan’s book, but this is what was available from the publisher).
After all, circuses are kind of weird, right? This means that books about circus people are probably also weird, right? Well, hat in hand, I was completely wrong. And I’m so glad I stuck with it beyond the first chapter (which, admittedly, was pretty weird, but made sense later) because this was one of the most surprisingly enjoyable books I’ve read this year.
It’s fantasy without being overly wacky. I’d describe the writing as having a lovely, dream-like quality and there is enough magic to keep things interesting without being over-the-top. There are two parallel stories that take place within this novel – one about the magic of the circus itself, which spans a considerable period of time, and the other about a boy who is enthralled with the show that appears and disappears in the night. Erin Morgenstern has managed to weave together an offbeat tale and an unlikely love story that completely and totally works.
Once I got through the slow-going first couple of chapters, I couldn’t stop. I carried this book with me everywhere. I read it in bed, in the bath and all over my house. It’s an easy, gentle read with a very satisfying conclusion, and coming from a fairweather fantasy fan, this is definitely one worth picking up. Thanks to Susan for her excellent judgement!