Hey all, Dani here.
I’ll just preface this review by saying that this is a book I’ve been wanting to reread for a while, and the magical circus atmosphere just seemed perfect for October. It should also be said that the last time I read this book was three or four years ago, so in some ways it felt brand new to me, though I am still quite familiar with the story.
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.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
Rating: 5 stars
All right, so I know there are some people out there who are not exactly fans of this book because of the slow moving plot or what they consider to be a lack of plot. I think this is more of an atmospheric experience read. Yes, I do think there is a plot, that of this competition between two magicians, where they try to show off their skills within the circus venue, and the competition continues until one is named the victor.
But the world of the circus, the descriptions of sights and sounds and smells just transport me somewhere else. It makes me feel as if I am visiting Le Cirque des Reves myself, which is obviously helped by the 2nd person POV interludes scattered throughout the novel.
I own this book in hardcover, in e-book, and in audiobook, and I have enjoyed reading it each way. The audiobook narrator does such a great job with both male and female voices, as well as utilizing different accents, which makes it easy to distinguish between the somewhat large cast of characters.
Most every time I read this, I find myself feeling as if my reading time is much like being transported into a dream, and when I close the book, I am jolted back into my waking life. And honestly, I feel like that is sort of the point of the book. After all, the story does make us visit the Circus of Dreams.
I missed Celia and Marcus and Poppet and Widget and Bailey and Herr Thiessen and Chandresh and Tsukiko and Isobel and all of the other characters we are introduced to over the course of the story. To get to experience the story again in a like-new way was wonderful. Obviously I still had a positive emotional connection to the book based on the few times I’ve read it before, but I found myself as swept away as any previous reading. I love when I find books that feel just as memorable and just as lovely with each reread.