Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Recommendation: The Night Circus

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that everything that's supposed to be a rule is really more of a guideline. To read a book, a well-loved, popular book filled with all those little "don't"s, and is actually well-written.

I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern this weekend, and it is just that kind of book.

"Don't write in present tense." - Erin Morgenstern did so, fabulously.
"Don't use second person." - Erin Morgenstern did, albeit only briefly at the beginning of chapters.
"Don't jump around the timeline." - Erin Morgenstern, again, did, taking the reader from mid to late 1800s to the early 1900s and back again as smooth as you please.
"Don't use adverbs." - Can you guess who did in plenty? If you said Erin Morgenstern, congratulations! You win a prize. That prize is me telling you to go read The Night Circus.

It's a tale of magic, mystery, and love, one that draws you in and makes you wish you were there, could be there, that it were all real. Imagine, if you will, a traveling circus. One day, there's an empty field, and the next, it's filled with circus tents, but instead of reds and yellows and blues, it's black and white. There is no trace of color inside the gates; even the fires and candles burn white. And it's only open at night.

Right off the bat, the place is a mystery, and once The Cirque des Reves opens, the mystery deepens in a mystical way as you explore each tent: an illusionist whose dresses change colors as she changes papers into doves, a garden made of ice, a tree covered in wishes, and countless more. And all this exists as a proving ground for two young magicians who have been dragged into a contest they don't fully understand the rules of. In telling their story, Erin Morgenstern makes her circus come to life in your mind in ways most books wish they could. It's a treasure for the senses, tantalizing you with all the sounds, sights, and smells of the circus (and oh, the food! I want a Night Circus cookbook so badly) with description so vivid, you feel you could be there. For the hours it took to read, I was undeniably at the circus, and when I closed the last page, I wondered why I wasn't still.

A little historical fiction, a little romance, and a lot of fantasy, The Night Circus is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Let me put it this way. I'm a HUGE Marvel fangirl. The day after I started to read this book, I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron. And I wanted the movie to finish up so I could go home and read more. So, final verdict?

Stop reading this blog post, go see Avengers: Age of Ultron, and then buy and read this book. In that order. Now. What are you waiting for? Here, I'll even help you. End of blog!

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