The Night Circus
Christmas may seem a long time ago (mainly because it was) but here is a chance to relive it all with my slightly (ok, very) overdue review of our Christmas book. Previous books chosen at Christmas by other Citylickers have not been very successful so I was determined to pick a crowd pleaser. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern fit the bill with its promise of dazzling magic, enchantment and romance.
The Night Circus beckons you in by putting a spell on all your senses, the delicious aroma of caramel apples, your ears straining to hear the music and crackling of fire, your eyes mesmerised with elaborate visions and above all your heart skipping a beat with the promise of the most memorable night of your life.
Erin Morgenstern has created an intensely visual and strikingly beautiful story with rich (but straightforward) prose. Just like the visitors of the circus Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams), the readers are invited in for the experience. And whilst the visitors are enthralled by the fortune-tellers, acrobats, contortionists and snake-charmers, they don't realise that this travelling circus is also the stage for a life or death dual between two young magicians, Celia and Marco.
Now, do you believe in magic? Because in the Night Circus, the magic is real. Celia and Marco perform powerful spells dressed as illusions to conceal their talents from mere mortals. Trained by two arch rivals from a young age, they are not the first pair of pupils pitted against each other, nor the last. They trained and trained for many years without understanding the full boundaries of the competition or even being aware of who their adversary was. The Night Circus is not just the stage for their competition but is their competition in itself, each trying to outdo the other by creating more elaborate performances. Inevitably, Marco and Celia fall in love and struggle to escape their bond to the competition so they can love each other freely.
We were rather divided in our opinion of the book, for two of us the novel was a lovely (and quick) read that you can indulge in, rather like a hot bubble bath with a chilled glass of champagne. But it certainly fall shorts of being a great novel, one that you would rave about excitedly for nights on end. Its whimsical style and somewhat corny storyline means that it lacks the gravitas initially promised, not unlike the feeling you get upon finishing a caramel apple, so much promise on the first bite and a slightly nauseous by the last. So it is understandable that the other Citylickers were not at all impressed.
For food, we was keen to choose an equally magical venue. Sarastro promised a world of drama, passion and excitement so off we went with glitter in our dresses and silly crowns on our heads.
Upon arrival we were greeted with an explosion of colours, textures and style, not exactly what you would want your own home to look like but certainly a fitting setting for our book club. The food was tasty but nothing too special to comment on and our set menu was somewhat on the pricey side but then it was Christmas after all. Christmas also meant that we hold the annual legendary Citylick’s Secret Santa, the most surprising thing of all was the shockingly improved quality of wrapping this year. Someone listened to my tutorial! All in all we would recommend the restaurant for an unusual setting, especially if you want to impress some out of town friends, but we certainly would not come back just for the food.
As usual, we left the evening fully sated and full of anticipation for Christmas (again, so long ago now, nearly time to get excited about the next one!)
Chosen and Written by Katy.