The Night Circus fits neatly together with books like The Time Traveller’s Wife and Water For Elephants, not so much linked by theme, but by the feeling that they have managed to capture something quite special and ethereal.
The book starts mysteriously, and plants a great many seeds to mysteries that are only fully revealed in the last moments of the story.
Although this is ultimately a love story, it has dark undertones and more than an air of magic that pulls it away from being a romance.
To take the characters away from the richly imagined world of the night circus in order to dissect and describe them would flatten them, but it is the characters that breathe life into the night circus, and make this dreamlike carnival believable. Although the whole circus exists only in black and white, the vivid descriptions of the wonders that it contains are lively and surreal. Especially beautiful is the description of the ornate clock that marks the entrance to the circus and the story of its creator, and his passion for the circus is a lovely one, which gives perspective to a tale which might otherwise be lost in a world that is so ‘other’.
The level of magic in The Night Circus is just enough to be believable, walking a fine line between magic and illusion and one of the loveliest moments in the text is when Prospero talks about magic versus illusion “They are a bunch of fish covered in feathers trying to convince the public they can fly, and I am simply a bird in their midst.”
The Night Circus is a playground for readers, which offers us the opportunity to remember the first fairy tale we ever read, so vivid and foreign, dark and enchanting, that gradually seeped into our reality as we read, bringing a shock of disappointment when we closed the pages.