I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for my book club (luckily none of them are followers of my blog, so they won't see this review before we meet). I can't even being to describe how much I love this book!
At the beginning of the book, a five year old - Celia - shows up in her fathers work with a note pinned to her coat. The note is a suicide note from Celia's mother, telling Prospero (Hector) that he is her father and must now take care of her. Prospero knows the minute he sees Celia that she is his child. He also figures out that she has powers like him that can be developed so that she can be a great illusionist like he is.
Shortly after Celia arrives, Alexander, another illusionist and the gentleman who competes in contests with Prospero, comes to see Prospero and engage him in yet another contest. This one will involve Celia and a contestant of Alexanders choosing. We find out later that this contestant is Marco, a young man Celia can't help but fall in love with when she meets him.
When Alexander arrives and plans out the contest with Prospero, he brings with him a ring. After they figure out the details of their contest, he puts the ring on Celia's finger, and it burns into her skin, binding her to whomever her competition is.
When Alexander leaves, he sets out in search of his competitor. He finds Marco, binds him with a ring he got from Prospero, and trains him by making him fill journals with drawings, which he has the ability to transfer from his mind into an impressive illusion. When Marco is older, Alexander binds him to be the "servant" of Chandresh, proprietor of the Night Circus.
The people involved in starting the night circus meet regularly at Chandresh's mansion. They have guests who entertain them, including Tsukiko - a contortionist and ex-student of Alexander's, who sometimes become a part of the circus entertainment. The guests pick out the colors of the circus - black and white, and work to pick out the details of what will happen.
During all this, they also hold auditions, which is where Marco and Chandresh meet Celia for the first time. They also have a man, Friedrich, build a beautiful clock that gets placed outside the entrance to the circus each time it travels.
It's hard to talk more about the book without giving to much away, so I'll leave you with they following fun details that will hopefully get you hooked enough to read it:
* On opening night, twins are born named Poppet and Widget
* Celia is intrinsically bound to the circus
* The fire lit on opening night is quite magical
* Bailey, circus lover and friend to Poppet and Widget, becomes quite linked to the circus
* There's a kick ass ice room.
* Marco meets two women, both of whom become very important in his life.
Overall, I think that this is one hell of a book, and I can't recommend it enough!