Only I did read it. 200 pages in the first night, bleary eyed at 3am on a school night I forced myself to put it down and get some sleep. I dreamt of it, of the sumptuous imagery, the brilliantly realised Night Circus and the decandent and flawed characters within. The next morning, I almost missed my stop so engrossed was I in the tale at hand. Work that day was eternal, all I wanted to do was sit in the sanctity of the bus home and return to Victorian London and find out what happened next. Finally home, I cooked and ate in hyper speed and retired to my boudoir to complete the final 250 pages, closing it at 2am with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. Don't you just love that feeling? The bittersweet pang of finishing someone so pleasurable and adored tinged with the sadness that you will never truly have that experience again?
I could try to explain it in detail but my skills aren't up to Miss Morgenstern's. I have never read a book which gripped me at page one and held my attention like this did. She writes with simplicity, no rambling sentences or descriptions here. In fact, you could almost call her descriptions shadowy as she paints just enough to give a glimpse of her world but allows you to make up your own mind. Based on the Fan Art out there, I wasn't alone in my adoration. Chapters are short, 5 or 6 pages which makes the internal argument of "Just one more chapter!" a hard one to win. Shifting between characters and continents with ease, the world of the Night Circus is a decadent, dreamy and somewhat sinister world.
Essentially a battle between illusionist Celia, a gifted magician who wows the crowds to the Cirques Des Reves and Marco, her combatant, an equally gifted magician who has to hide behind a face that isn't his own and an identity that doesn't allow him to bask in the same adoration Celia does. As children, they are pitted against each other. Except their magic is no trick of the light or slight of hand. This is the real deal. Alternate worlds are created, people are controlled and the entire fate of the Circus and it's inhabitants are held in their hands. And it is these inhabitants that really make this such a pleasure. Each character reads like a real person, each quirk and trait, each exhibition of talent, each conversation, it all comes across as true.
I laughed in parts and truly sobbed in others. I saw the Circus in glorious technicolour despite the monochrome setting interspersed with splashes of red. I wanted to stand outside the gate, awaiting nightfall, to wander through the starry lit tent to wander through the maze like grounds seeking out visual and sensory pleasures.
And as I closed the book, I felt like I had been there, grateful for the experience and wondering when the Circus would return to town.