This post is the first in a new series called Read This Book. As some of you may know, I used to have a separate blog devoted to my literary loves. While I may continue with it at some point, I have since decided to consolidate a bit, and start writing about books on this blog! Stay tuned for upcoming posts in the series.
Last Tuesday, I came home from school in a good mood. It was a lovely day, bright and happy, with impeccable weather. I suddenly had a thought to go to the nearest Indigo, one of my favourite haunts – ever. I was home though, and quickly becoming a little too comfortable sitting down and relaxing after a long day. I questioned whether I should just stay home.. But something told me I should go. So I did! Was it the magical pull of discovering this book? I’ll never know..
I wandered the first floor for a while, choosing a book or two to peruse. It was just an ordinary trip to the bookstore until I got upstairs: where the Random House/McClelland Stewart Fall Book Preview was taking place! [#nerdalert] Oh boy. I was a bit late, but there were still some empty chairs with thick PowerPoint slide printouts sitting on top of them. I snatched one up as quickly as possible, and parked my booty for the next few hours, sitting in wonder as I was told of book after wonderful book that I simply must read. But it wasn’t until the Random House representative, Jen, stood up and started raving about this book that I got really excited. This is a woman who reads hundreds of books a year, and she’s this passionate about a book? She says it’s the most exciting book since Shadow of the Wind? Well. Those who loved that book as much as I did will understand what happened next.
I practically threw the other books in my hands on the floor (kidding, that would never happen). Ran after a sales rep. Breathlessly managed to ask for: The Night Circus. Raced home and consumed all 387 pages within 48 hours.
About the Book
So what makes it so special? First of all, the premise is wonderfully compelling.
There is a challenge involving two young children trained until adulthood for the purposes of the game. A game in which the stakes are unknown, the rules are vague, but the products are magnificent. The circus is the venue: a stage for the beautiful, the majestic. The public can visit only at nightfall, surrounded by the smells of cinnamon and caramel, and be mesmerized by the tents full of acrobats, clouds, ice or mazes. Every detail of the circus is mysterious and intoxicating. Every performer is skilled and flawless. As a reader, I wished I was there at every moment. I could practically feel the whistling breeze made by the tumbling acrobats, see the carousel with its animated animals, feel the heavy black-and-white striped fabric of the tents, smell the chocolate in the air, hear the crackling of the perpetual bonfire.
What I Loved Most
This is one of the best novels I’ve read all year, it’s so many wonderful things put together. It’s an incredible story – of love and confusion, of magic and reality, and wonder. Her writing style is just-dramatic-enough to make the book feel like something more, like it has weight and importance. The pages are chock-full of incredible details that add to the story and the experience. And the creativity practically bounds off the page – the magic that Morgenstern has created is palpable. It’s also extremely readable – I know it’s cliche but I wish all books could be like this one! I didn’t want it to end, I wish I could read only books that were this readable and magical.
This book is technically “fantasy” because there are some elements of the magical/surreal. Yet it should appeal to almost all readers, even those who aren’t usually fantasy fans. People who liked Shadow of the Wind, The Hunger Games, The Time Traveler’s Wife/Her Fearful Symmetry, The Twilight series, even Harry Potter should be shoo-ins to love this book. People who are looking for a fairly easy but rewarding read should love this. If I’m being honest, I think everyone would like this book, but what do I know, right?! I also think it would make a wonderful gift and book club choice. It’s already a Heather’s Pick at Chapters/Indigo and it was only published on September 13th!
What do you think? Are you as excited as I was about this book that’s making waves in the literary world? Are you typically not interested in fantasy? Will you make an exception for this gem? What are some of the must-read books you’ve seen lately!?