Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

I am always trying to figure out what type of fantasy/science-fiction book I like.  I am not really into space or time-travel per se (though I like the Ender's Game series and The Time Traveller's Wife).  I like fantasy creatures (like elves and dragons), but not necessarily books where they completely take the place of humans.  I like quests, but don't necessarily like battles (not into the Orcs from Lord of the Rings).  I loved this book.  And I realized, I think I just like magic.  I like books where things are magical and where characters perform magic.  And that is the basis of The Night Circus.  Two master magician types place a bet that they can develop a protege to beat the other's protege.  They don't specifically identify the time, place, or rules of the competition, but one day a circus arrives in town. It's been specially created to exhibit the most amazing and fantastcial talents - and it's not a circus of illusion, but of actual magic.  This book gave me the same feeling I had reading Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comesi - the feeling of something unknown and wonderful coming to town.  And within the circus there is love and competition and wonder and amazement, and it's all just so fun and inviting - like living in a Cirque de Soleil production.  The problem with magic is that it doesn't have to have any boundaries.  So, ultimately, the ending of any book like this is going to veer off into the simply impossible - and it's hard to criticize that becuase all along you've been suspending disbelief and agreeing to a world created out of the impossible.  And so I just absolutely loved this book - all the way up until about the last 20 pages when it went a little too crazy for me - but I didn't really see any way to avoid the ending it had.  It made me want to go out and get my tarot cards read in a dark room, by a  strange woman in a costume, burning incense, and whispering enigmatic secretes.  At Christmastime, when I still listen late at night for Santa's reindoor on my roof, it's nice to just let go and believe.

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