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The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern This review goes out to my friend Scott, who's going to read it and probably cross this book off his to-read list.

Who doesn’t love the circus, especially a circus with real magic and zero animal cruelty? Morgenstern creates a circus here that would make any Vegas show wither and die from envy. Cirque de Soleil? Dead. Blue Man Group? Dead. Siegfried and Roy and all those tigers? Dead and dead and all dead, and not because the latter ate the former. Morgenstern’s Le Cirque des Rêves, a black-and-white themed, nocturnally active, magically powered circus is an unparalleled work of imagination. What begins with standard but exceptional performers (acrobats, a contortionist, an illusionist) evolves into a wonderland of ice gardens, cloud mazes, and living carousels that left me entranced and desperate for a ticket.

The magic for the circus is provided by the protagonists, Celia and Marco. Celia and Marco each represent a different school of magical thought. Celia’s father trained her in the type of magic that she can draw from within herself. Marco’s mentor taught him to manipulate situations indirectly from afar. Bound into competition by their masters, Celia and Marco create and modify magical tents and attractions in an on-going competition to prove which school of magic is supreme. It’s kind of like Iron Chef, but with magical circuses instead…so, not very much like Iron Chef at all, except for the competition. However, neither contestant knows the rules of the game, how to win, or when it will end. As the so-called duel stretches on and on, Celia and Marco focus on impressing each other rather than some nebulous concept of victory, and inevitably they fall in love. Unfortunately, when the rules of the game finally come out, their love will be pushed to the breaking point. (Sort of.)

Sounds, well, magical, right? And it is, to an extent. The descriptions of the circus amazed me. Morgenstern evokes each detail, right down to the costumes and tent entrances. The concept is brilliant. But…

***You can read my gripes and final analysis of this book at http://infinitereads.com because I'm shamelessly trying to funnel people to my blog. See you there!***