The Night Circus is the venue for a dual between two young magicians - Celia, the daughter of an enchanter, and Marco, a sorcerer's apprentice, both trained from childhood for this purpose alone. Unbeknownst to Celia and Marco, this decades-long game of imagination and will is one in which only one will be left standing.
Mainly set in the late 19th/early 20th century, this novel was a magical experience that enchanted me from its opening pages. The writing is elegant and lyrical; weaving rich descriptions with a cast of intriguing eccentric characters. It is just the kind of novel that I love, blending elements of magical realism with a strong sense of its historical setting.
Noting reviews on various sites, it seems to be a novel that polarizes readers. Certainly, there is a restraint and coolness to her writing style, which is somewhat at odds with the current trend in fantasy for first person narration and emotional outpourings. Morgenstern also does not seek to answer all the questions raised by her story, leaving a sense of mystery at its heart. This novel reminded me a little of the style of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, another novel I fell in love with and one that people again seem to love or hate in equal measure.
The UK hardback edition book was beautifully produced with a real attention to details in its binding and use of colour. I also did admire the cover art for the US edition with the circus being cradled in an elegant white-gloved hand.
Erin Morgenstern's website - lots to explore!