In THE NIGHT CIRCUS which is set in the late 1800's to the early 1900's, two children who will grow up to be magicians are bound to each other in a challenge placed upon them by a pair of elderly gentlemen. The two contestants do not meet or even know their opponent's identity until they are adults, but their entire childhoods are geared toward the inevitable meeting. The challenge plays out at a mysterious black and white circus that is only open at night, hence the title. The book is filled with colorful characters and, well, magic! And the circus, whoa. I cannot begin to do it justice. The author's imagination and attention to detail left me breathless at times.
I waited to read the reviews until I finished the book because I had my suspicious about how they would read. I was right. Readers are divided into two camps: those who loved the book's world and those who hated the book's plot. I'm in the first category. I've often heard writers cautioned aginst falling too in love with the world they create, especially in science fiction and fantsy. I must admit that Ms. Morgenstern is very much in love with the world of this book, but I don't fault her. I'm in love with it too.
This was not a book I would have normally picked up. A librarian friend suggested this book at a NaNoWriMo Write-in. The author wrote it during National Novel Writing Month and it is her first published novel. While the plot left a bit to be desired and I can see where the critics find it lacking in resolution and conflict, I loved it and did not need to know any more than was told. Besides, I was smitten by the world she'd fashioned! Also, it's a love story, really, and I'm a sucker for a love story. Read it and draw your own conclusions!!!