“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque de Reves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus. You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.” – The Night Circus
Much like how Diagon Alley and Hogwarts were so inviting and gloriously crafted, the Night Circus enchants adult readers into wishing it were real. We long to buy dripping caramel apples and chocolate mice with almond ears, and to explore the labyrinth of black and white tents. Morgenstern’s delicious imagery weaves fully-realized pockets of magic within each tent, from the squishy Cloud Maze to the glistening Ice Garden. Even the standard circus attractions like the acrobats, contortionist, and tarot card reader each have their own effortless quality that seem to defy the laws of physics and logic.
But this enticing getaway has a dark side. The Night Circus is actually the venue for two magicians’ battle to the death, and they have been bound to play out the competition since they were children. While the game began anonymously, once Celia and Marco cross paths within the circus and realize they are each other’s opponent, their love begins to interfere with the outcome of the game.
Combining historical fiction with romance and fantasy, the novel surpasses genre limitations with its “Romeo and Juliet” take on magical realism. Just as the circus is only designed in black and white, Celia and Marco must escape the absolutes and find each other within the shades of grey.
He was seeking immortality, which is a terrible thing to seek. It is not seeking anything, but rather avoiding the unavoidable.