There are books that, when I close the cover, I sit back and think what a fantastic job the author did creating another world. And then there are books that, after I close the cover, I wonder where this world is because it must exist. It’s a world of its own and if I look hard enough, I’ll find it.
That is Night Circus.
If the Nightwish were a book, they would be Night Circus. A world where paper dragons breathe fire and flowers composed entirely of ice and frost bloom in a white circus tent.
The Night Circus is a tale of magic and intrigue, romance and beautiful imagery, satisfying plot twists and hooks blended together in an intriguing story. I’m not a huge romance buff, but I actually felt the romance of this book greatly enhanced the overall storyline. It wasn’t obnoxiously over-done. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite romance chapters of all time was in this book. It was powerful, concise, and over so quickly I had to go back and reread it to catch the small nuances I’d missed the first time. I have a hard time explaining the storyline to friends because, personally, I’ve never come across a book similar to this one. And there really were multiple storylines that overlapped and interwove to create one overarching finish that tied together well.
I loved how the characters treated each other with the respectful old world vibe of the 1800s. Many books written today that are meant to be set in this time period draw from the sarcasm and rudeness that is found in today’s society in an attempt to make the characters quirky for their time. To me, it feels contrived and cheap. I was pleasantly surprised that this never happened. And that the characters didn’t become soap operatic when they had “issues.”
Of course, this is a book review. So I have to point out a few things that were negative. The book wasn’t without a few cringe-worthy paragraphs. Several off color jokes popped up. I wasn’t keeping count necessarily but I believe the count was less than five. There were a few curse words (I’m including several English curse words so most of them weren’t immediately noticeable) including one use of the F bomb. The presence of literal magic and enchantments were used to embellish the circus. Tarot cards and querents. Spiritualism. All these were largely minor and barely noticeable. The only thing that did pop out to me was a sex scene although I’m not even sure it could be called that; it started out fairly vague and then tastefully veered away to leave the rest imagination.
As far as execution goes, the writing was superb and rich. Which may actually be an issue for some readers who might find the descriptions and details too slow paced. I enjoyed the extra descriptions personally, but this book may not appeal to readers who prefer a faster pace. The only time it started to drag for me was at the end. I wished they would have just wrapped it up and left the reflection to the reader instead of reflecting on what had happened by way of two characters discussing everything over tea. Still, even that ended with a coolish twist so I guess it was forgivable.
I will definitely read this book again in the future. As I was reading, I was thinking of several book ideas I’ve had bouncing around in my brain and I was torn between finishing the book or setting it down and finishing one of my own. It definitely got the creative juices flowing. And I appreciated that.