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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

Currently reading

What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern There's a passage towards the end of The Night Circus (don't worry, it's not a spoiler) that encapsulates what I love about books: "There's magic in [storytelling]. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift."Now, The Night Circus wasn't a life-changing read by any means, but it does do exactly what a story should: creates magic. And that's not just because it's about magic (although that's certainly part of it); there's also a sense of wonder, delight and whimsy in the way it's told, in its language and construction, and in the quirky cast of characters that inhabit its pages. It's entertaining, it's mysterious and it's just plain fun.The story itself centres around a competition between two young students of magic, for which the circus is the venue. Celia and Marco have been raised with the express purpose of defeating one another, but things get extremely complicated when their feelings - for each other, and for their circus family - come into play. They're likable enough protagonists, but I have to admit, as the book progressed I found myself less interested in their starcrossed love story and more invested in the secondary characters and the circus itself. It really is the star of the show.I know some readers have had problems with the pacing and style of The Night Circus, and while it can be a little slow in places, I really enjoyed the winding path the plot took to get to the end. I was intrigued by the mystery of the "game" and loved the way it all slowly unravelled. But the highlight was definitely Morgenstern's descriptive language - she paints the circus in such a vivid and sensual way, you can practically smell the caramel on the air and see the stark black and white tents before you. She draws you in and makes you never want to leave. It truly is magical.**This review and more appear on my blog http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com.au/