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.
This is one of those books that got an awful lot of attention when it first came out, and was even included in the BEA Editor’s Buzz panel last year. Everyone raved about it, but I sort of shrugged as it didn’t sound like my type of book. A story about a circus? That’s only open at night? Uh-huh…. But apparently the book gods wanted me to read it, as this is one of the few unsolicited books I’ve ever received from a publisher.
Well, I finally read it and now understand why it got so much attention. It’s a lovely story with lovely writing, but….I still found myself shrugging. Looks like my initial instinct was right and this just wasn’t for me. I could appreciate the writing and the author’s talent, but I was a little bored at times and the pacing was a bit on the slow side for me.
Despite the pacing issue, there are several things going on during the story. The main storyline concerns a bet made between two powerful magicians, who train their proteges for a duel. The Night Circus comes into being as the “stage” for the duel, but it’s not your usual duel as the two proteges don’t even know each other’s identity at first.
So we get to know the two young magicians, the circus creators, the groupies, the performers, and the circus herself. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but it never got too confusing even with the multiple POVs. It did drag in places for me, but I may be getting too used to the faster pace of urban fantasy.
Gave this one a 3/5 as while I did appreciate the wordplay, I found myself bored in spots. I have a problem with stories set in the past for some reason. The descriptions were quite lovely and the circus sounded like a magical place, but I think I’m becoming too cynical to appreciate such quiet gems.
Have you read The Night Circus? Would love to know if you had any problems with the pacing and/or got bored like I did. I’m starting to worry that I’m developing Reading ADD….