The Night Circus Review (Spoiler Free)

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Summary: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. 

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. 

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. 

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms. 

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 

Add to Goodreads

UK – Waterstones / Amazon / Wordery / Book Depository

US – Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Canada – Indigo


★★★★☆ 4/5

The Night Circus is not what I expected, since there’s no blurb on the back of the book, just reviews. (Super unhelpful) I expected the trials and tribulations of running a circus, or running away and joining a circus and the aftermath of that. What The Night Circus is it’s not that.

What it really is, is magic and intrigue, wonder and excitement. The Night Circus and all its acts, the patrons and even the people behind the scenes, everyone that helps make the circus what it is, two people in particular.

It all starts with a game, two people pitted against each other, each capable of illusions and magic. One must beat the other, but the rules aren’t clear to both involved and neither knows how a winner will be determined. Each person both learns the skills that they need to use to compete against the other, both learning in different ways from a young age, but neither knows just when the game will begin.

It took me a while to read (thanks for that, reading slump), but when I was reading it, when the circus was described, I could picture it all clearly, could imagine all the different tents, what they contained and how exciting it was for the patrons to experience the circus, to want to return time and time again whilst it was in town.

It started off a little slow and I did find confusing the different points of view from different times. It’s all connected to it all, but if you don’t pay attention to the dates at the beginnings of chapters, (like I didn’t), you’ll find yourself surprised to find a character is suddenly younger than they were in the previous chapter.

Did I like the book? Yes.

Did I love it? Also a yes.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Despite the lack of actual blurb on the back, reviews instead in place on the back cover. If you like magic mixed with the circus, an extraordinary circus, read it.

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