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Radiant Shadows

The Night Circus

The Night Circus - There are three different story lines happening throughout The Night Circus. First is that of the circus, mainly Celia and Marco, the two magicians/illusionists pitted against each other from childhood as competitors in a game and their additions of different magical attractions, in an attempt to outdo one another. Secondary is that of a young Massachusetts farm boy and his fascination and delight with the traveling circus, and his budding friendship with some of the circus performers. The third (and this is the one that I was confused on for a bit) is you, the reader, as you explore and experience the circus during present day.I am in LOVE with this book. It has an ethereal feel to it, and every moment is described so elegantly that as I'm reading, I feel as though I am at the circus. Closing my eyes, I can smell the hot cider and caramel apples; I can see what the contortionist must look like as she closes herself into her glass box; I share in Celia's delight with the ice garden as it is my delight; I can feel the excitement of the crowd, as I am excited; I am truly experiencing the circus as though I am there.Each short captivating chapter adds a slight twist to the plot or reveals a small hint that sends your thoughts spiralling in different directions, trying to decipher what it means, leaving you slightly pleasantly disoriented. As you continue, the marvels escalate and the various plot lines only continue to become more intertwined and complex and you have to wonder how they will all come together as they're so fantastical. Morgenstern has created a sensory overload of smells and sounds which transcends the imaginary to make the atmosphere and ambiance of such an impossibly unrealistic circus realistic! And the best part is how it is all so effortlessly painted across the pages.Refreshing was the exclusion of cliffhanger chapters, to encourage you to read on. Instead, Morgenstern opted to end each chapter with a dramatic flourish that had you reflecting on not just the current chapter, but everything you had read up until that point. Her contemplative endings had you re-evaluating your ideas on how the game was to be played, what outcome you thought she would choose, and how (or if) the circus would be able to thrive.As example: Lainie nods and lifts her glass to her lips but instead of sipping her tea, she opens her fingers, releasing her grip. The cup falls, crashing into the saucer below. The glass shatters, the sound echoing through the room. The tea spills out over the tiles. Before anyone turns at the noise, the cup has righted itself. The broken pieces re-form around the liquid and the glass sits intact, the tile surface of the table is dry. Those who glances over at their table at the noise assume it was their imagination, and return their attention to their own tea. "Why didn't you stop it before it broke?" Lainie asks. "I don't know," Celia says. "If you ever need anything from me, I would like you to ask," Lainie says as she stands to leave. "I am tired of everyone keeping their secrets so well that they get other people killed. We are all involved in your game, and it seems we are not as easily repaired as teacups." Celia sits alone for some time after Lainie departs, both cups of tea growing cold.Stunning. I sat, as Celia did, just thinking about everything I knew about Lainie, and what it must mean for her to have reached this conclusion, and what it might mean for the entire circus - both performers and patrons.The seemingly forbidden romance blossoming between Celia and Marco left me breathless and anxious and excited and heartbroken all at the same time. Stolen moments, the faintest of touches, whispered kisses and a bond no amount of time or space could break - still gives me shivers.Beautiful, wonderful, and magically delicious; do not miss out on the opportunity to experience the circus you have previously only caught glimpses of in dreams.Originally published on my blog, Radiant Shadows