Published: January 1st 2011 by Anchor
Page Count: 516 pages
Awards: Locus Award for Best First Novel (2012),Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Adult Literature (2012), ALA Alex Award (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), The Reading List Genre Awards for Fantasy (2012) September (2011), The Kitschies Nominee for Golden Tentacle (Debut) (2011)
In all honesty, I don’t know how I feel about this book. at times it is exasperating and other times it was undeniably engrossing.
I don’t know if my exasperation was due to impatience or if the plot of this book was drowned in too many details but I’m sure that some parts of it felt so vividly imagined that I couldn’t put the book down for fear of breaking the spell.
The ending left me agitated. I know, of course that a nicely fitted ending is a luxury in literature and that one mustn’t make a habit of expecting or seeking out books with endings that eave nothing open for interpretation; that the uncertainty of an open ending is in itself, one of the most appealing things about literature.
Erin Morgenstern described her books as “Fairy tales in one way or another”. That is the perfect description of this story. It’s a fairy tale. A tragic tale of love and loss and sacrifice.
the book tells the story of Celia and Marco; two young manipulators: Magicians, sorcerers. whatever you want to call them who have been entered into a competition when they were only children. The competition entails that they out perform each other, magic-wise. Or so they think.
it just so happens that the arena of their competition happens to be a circus. All be it, an extraordinary circus but a normal circus none the less. only with the influence of Celia and Marco’s magic, the circus becomes a place of mystery. An entity in its own right, and very soon people begin noticing and the circus develops a following of devotees who seek out something within its enchanted grounds that they cannot put a name to.
They find themselves drawn to the magic even though they don’t believe in it. some of them even rearrange their whole lives to revolve around the circus; following it wherever it goes.
as the competition draws on, Celia and Marco finds that even though they are rivals, they are drawn to each other. The bonds that hold them together are more than magic and rivalry; they are the bonds of love.
unbeknownst to them, the competition is not one of magical talent and skill. It’s one of stamina: the rules of the game dictate that in order for there to be a winner, only one of them has remain alive in the end of the contest.
inevitably, the game takes a toll on more than the players themselves as everything around them plunges into chaos.
Celia and Marco have to try to save the lives of everyone involved in the circus as well as maintain a hold on their fragile love, but it comes with a price and the sacrifices made are not easy for either of them.
Final Thoughts: this isn’t a cheery book. I would avoid this if you are going through a sentimental phase in your life. unless of course, you like stories about star crossed lovers with unfortunate endings.