What a novel! What a story, style, characterization, dedication to details & most of all, how imaginatively written. Although I found the story slow and confusing at the beginning, I was suck into it, thinking of myself as a keen circus goer, or even a “rêveur”.
Let me try to break down the plot line: Le Cirque des Rêves, or the Circus of Dreams, is a traveling circus that is only opened at night. They arrive without a notice, and leave in a similar manner. There are no posters or any other kind of marketing, but people are spell-bound by it, they are drawn to it and some even follow the circus around the world (“rêveurs”). This phantasmagorical fairy tale is set in Victorian London, and it draws many features typical of the Victorian style: mystery, tragical love story, inevitable fate, haunting ghosts, magical artifacts, orphans, magical twins, and many more. Re-invented, these become intensified to the point that you feel like you are in a circus and can’t quite get out. The circus is magical: there are blooming gardens made only of ice, and acrobats going insanely high without a safety net, and a magician whose jacket transforms into a raven. But, more than this, the circus also serves as a stage for the magician Prospero the Enchanter and an enigmatic Mr A.H to put their proteges to test. Celia Bowen, a daughter of the magician, and Marco Alisdair, an orphan plucked and mentored by Mr A.H., must fight each other, but the victory of one means the death of the other. Celia, a natural illusionist, transforms the circus, adds magical tents and generally maintains it, while Marco, who learned about magic from books, creates illusions that only exist in the mind of the beholder. Hope this is enough to tease your curiosity so you get the book, and find out the rest for yourself!
Visit her website at: http://erinmorgenstern.com/ and find out about her new book. While waiting for Flax-Golden Tales to come my way, I will be keeping my eyes on her blog (where you can actually read some stories online).