Fall Crystal Ball: The Night Circus
Posted by: Misha Stone
This time I am borrowing a post title from Kaite! And in this case a crystal ball prediction is rather appropriate.
One of the books with the most buzz at BookExpo this year was Erin Morgenstern’s debut The Night Circus. A couple of colleagues of mine let me know that it was a highly anticipated book, so I thought I would give it a chance and get a jump on its September release date.
The Night Circus creates an enchanting world where feats of illusion and wonder are woven into the fabric of the telling. There is a circus at the center of it, a mysterious affair open from dusk to dawn which arrives and departs cities around the world without notice. Set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the novel also follows the lives of two, for lack of a better word, magicians who are unwittingly locked into a game whose shape and outcome is unknown to them. Celia and Marco are two intriguing characters and their illusions and additions to the wondrous circus are confections for the imagination. But what is unclear to my own crystal ball is whether this book will truly be the sensation that the publishers believe it will.
It is enchanting, yes. It is inventive, yes. It is a solidly written fantasy that calls to mind John Crowley’s Little, Big and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. In fact, this is the book that Niffenegger should have written instead of Her Fearful Symmetry, which is on the overwrought side. But there is something missing here, something that I think the book wishes to accomplish. It tells a good story, but I am not so sure that it resonates beyond the confines of its own traveling circus.
One thing I can be sure of, it is the readers who decide what is a success or a sensation. I am interested to see how this one shapes up.