Published September 13th 2011 by Doubleday
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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.
When Celia is only 6 years old she is brought to a father she’s never known, the great magician Prospero the Enchanter. He’s brutal and his motivation is selfish, but he teaches her everything he knows about real magic, in an attempt to lock her in a magical competition she has no say in.
In reality there’s no real way to summarize this story. This book is pure magic. The list of characters is large, and all of them important to the plot. The magic is described in a way that makes you want to take every tent home. It really opens up your imagination. I’ve never been big on circuses but I would be pretty excited going to the one described. And even the structure of the story was interesting. The chapters bounce back in forth in time, first spanning years, then 1 year, than just days. If you’re going to read this book, PAY ATTENTION TO THE DATES. This makes the book a little more difficult to read, but it adds to the mystery and magic of the story.
Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t really connect to the characters. I felt like the writing was so formal that I couldn’t really see the characters as real people. The only characters I really loved were Poppet, Widget, and Bailey. They are younger, and therefore have an excuse to have more personality I guess. Another issue I had was that the love story wasn’t really described very well. All of a sudden they were in love (this isn’t a spoiler since the book is billed as a love story). I had to pull additional emotion from my imagination since I didn’t feel the pages gave me enough of it.
Overall: It was a wonderfully magical story worth a read.