I started reading this and was enjoying it muchly and then the twitternets went all squirrelly with the BEST BOOK EVAR and CHANGED MY LIFE and BOOK CURES CANCER and I was internally like, Dudes! You must mellow the hype. Because The Night Circus is excellent and great and good (and yes, has stripey end papers) but it will not bring your blood sugars down to an acceptable level or make you attractive to the sex of your choice.
And I don’t want to damn with faint praise, but if you go into The Night Circus believing all the hype, you will be disappoint. SUCH IS THE NATURE OF THE HYPE-MACHINE. If you pick it up because it came for you in the mail and you sort of hadn’t noticed that it was a book, you will probably dig its jive.
You probably know the plottery gist by now: two attractive young people locked into a magician’s duel, which in my mind should involve a bit of this:
and quite a lot of this:
There is, tragically, little of either. It is a very civilized duel (and then on another level, an exceedingly barbaric one, since neither dualant entered voluntarily, either through slapping of faces with gauntlets or otherwise).
The boxing ring (so to speak) is a circus, and it is VIBRANT and MYSTICAL and literally the best part of the book. Because each contributant contributes elements to it in an attempt to out-wizard each other and there ends up being shit like an ice garden (made of ice!) and a floating carousel and it’s way more rad than I’m making it sound.
Young, attractive people being what they are, the dualants eventually fall in love which complicates the duel (did I mention they are irrevocably bound? Rough luck, that) and then a pair of red-headed twins (obviously) with magical powers is born into the circus and ALSO there’s a boy named Bailey who is Not Magical In Any Way and I am RUNNING OUT OF STEAM for this book.
I’m sorry, The Night Circus. You deserve better than I am giving you, but I take comfort in the fact that you’ve GOTTEN it. Downgrade your expectations, oh ye readers, and then pick this up when you’ve forgotten how practically perfect it’s supposed to be. Because it’s seriously very good.