The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
To start, in compliance with FTC guidelines, I must disclose that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
So now the review. I thought this was a beautifully written novel. I am not normally a fan of novels that jump back and forwards in time but somehow this author made the dual time zones work together perfectly. Not once did I have to re-check what date we were on or got confused by this and when she perfectly merged them together towards the end it happened seamlessly.
When I first picked up the book to read, I thought that the subject matter had all been done before - I was thinking The Prestige by Christopher Priest along with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, both great books in their own right. Somehow the author gave it a fresh coat of paint. Yes the base elements have all been done before but the story never felt tired or familiar.
I could not put this book down until I reached the last 30 or so pages and only put it down because I did not want it to end for two reasons. One, I was enjoying it so much I wanted it to go on and on. Two, I was nervous that the ending would not do the rest of the book justice.
I was slightly disappointed in the ending, some ends were rather conveniently tied up, while others were left completely unexplained. For Example, I am still not sure what the point of the challenge was but perhaps that was the authors point! The character of Bailey and his resultant responsibilities (a bit cryptic but trying not to insert a spoiler here) happened all a bit too conveniently.
Despite these minor criticisms a thoroughly enjoyable and unique read and only one star dropped for some minor nitpicking of mine.