The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, 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. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Details: Doubleday, September 13, 2011, Ebook, 387 pages
In one sentence? A great concept but lackluster delivery.
The concept was fascinating, dueling magicians who fall in love and I had high expectations, unfortunately the story fell short for me. Morgenstern crafts a beautiful world inside circus tents and fills it with fascinating people but that's about all it had going for it. The story moved slowly. I kept waiting for action, for the story to pick up and it never did though Morgenstern did kept the story interesting enough for me to keep turning the pages.
From the blurb it sounds like the romance between Celia and Marco the romance will be front and center but it was really a small part of the story. They were star crossed lovers, loving each other desperately but kept apart, which automatically gets me rooting for them. Morgenstern did a good job of getting the reader into Celia and Marco's heads, making me feel for them, playing a game they didn't choose to play, where they had no chance, no knowledge of the rules or the stakes. I wished Morgenstern had shown more of Celia and Marco, I think the story would have been richer for it.
I did not like Morgenstern's writing style, it annoyed and distracted me, taking me away from the world she was trying to create. And dialog. Give me some dialog please! I think that Morgenstern chose the wrong platform for her story; while reading I kept imagining how the story would play out on film. I think this might be one time where the movie would actually be better than the book.