The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker)
Occasionally – very seldom, in fact – a book comes along that takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. It sweeps you up in its storyline and you become linked with the characters, the places, everything, long after you have finished with it.

Ladies and gentlemen, buy yourselves a copy of The Night Circus because this is exactly what will happen to you. As a person who works in a book store, it is an utter pleasure to recommend a book such as this – a book that ignites the imagination and captures you in its mystical grip.

This wonderfully enchanting novel tells the story of two rival magicians, who pit their young protégés against each other in an anonymous duel. Celia and Marco do not know that they are locked in an enigmatic and rather dangerous battle, playing out in the artificially constructed Le Cirque de Réves – The Circus of Dreams.

This battle takes place over years, the young contestants trying to best each other by creating illusions and constructing marvels – which Morgenstern describes in intricately beautiful detail – such as the cloud maze or ice garden.

As they try to figure out the rules of this “game”, the other members of the circus become unwittingly embroiled in the unfolding drama.

Each new page is a delight as we discover this enticing circus along with our colourful cast.

A circus which opens only at night, endearing twins born on the eve of the opening, a lady adept at reading the tarot, a gentleman who builds the perfect clock, a fire which is never put out, a host of réveurs who wear red scarves... on and on it goes.

Erin Morgenstern’s debut is a superbly crafted story which will have you desperately wanting more even as you wish to see the end.

Adventure, magic, love, philosophy, and intriguing characters fill the pages. But more than anything else, the imagery dominates the scenes, drawing you in and indulging your senses with real illusions, heightening the experience of a tremendous piece of writing. As one of the characters says:

“Someone needs to tell those tales. There’s magic in that... for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict.”

This is undoubtedly my favourite book of the year (and right up there with my best ever). I implore you to get yourself a copy not because you will be missing out on an outstandingly brilliant book, but because if you don’t you will be missing out on a uniquely compelling encounter.

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