Mood. That’s what this book does well — it creates a mood that is enticing, exciting, and entrancing.
As readers, we want to keep reading, not so much to find out what the characters are doing, but because we are ‘rêveurs,’ circus groupies who enjoy spending our nights exploring the tents.
For this, novice novelist Erin Morgenstern is somewhat brilliant. The atmosphere here is unlike anything I’ve read. Darker and more mysterious than Harry Potter. Sexier than The Magician.
But we have to be thankful for this mood, because without it, the book is empty.
There is a very nice twist to the story (no spoilers here), but of course it involves the circus directly.
The basic plot involves a pair of magic-touched lovers who are pitted against one another by their guardians, ancient magicians who play some cruel game against one another using real people.
The set-up is fun, but the game gets boring and the characters, at best, two dimensional. Still…there is the circus, and anytime Morgenstern brings us back with all that is magical, we’re sucked in and settling down among the sawdust, waiting for daylight.
In case you can’t tell, I liked the circus. I liked the characters that inhabited the circus. I even liked Celia and Marco, our love interest — at least I liked them when they were macigians, planning and practicing for their competition. I liked them much less when they were Romeo and Juliet clones, defying their destinies and families to come together.
The mood was the great. The atmoshpere. But when all is read and done, I’m not left with anything remarkable. I’m not hanging on to the story, and I’m not wishing or waiting for the inevitable sequel. It was a fun read at the time because I enjoyed the magic of the book.
Looking for a good book? This one just might work for you.
* * * * * *
author: Erin Morgenstern
hardcover, 387 pages