The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern The Night Circus is a magical tale set in Victorian London, featuring the fantastical and mysterious le Cirque des Rêves which only opens from sunset to sunrise. Its attractions include a cloud maze, a wishing tree, ice gardens and other tents full of impossible wonders, as well as performers that are capable of the extraordinary.

Celia the illusionist is a true magician, groomed by her father Prospero the Enchanter to challenge Marco, the young protege of the mysterious Mr. A.H-. The circus becomes their battleground, with the two using it behind the scenes as a proxy to create more magical attractions to captivate their audiences. When the two finally discover each other, they fall in love despite the rivalry between their masters and being sworn to compete against each other until only one person is left standing.

On the face of it, I should have loved this book, given the nature of the story and its themes. It's also beautifully written, with descriptive prose which lets the reader picture the circus and its performers in all its splendid details. The author has a talent for bringing that magic to life with her words, and I also loved the many awe-inspiring ideas she had for the attractions in the circus.

At the same time, however, I felt the novel's setting began overshadowing everything else. The main characters lost their liveliness and charm, compared with amazing sights at the circus and everything else happening around them, which I often found to be much more interesting.

As a result, I tried but could barely grasp the romance or chemistry between Marco and Celia in this so-called love story. Their actions and words spoke of their strong feelings towards each other, but I just didn't feel the passion. I felt so much of the emotion was missing behind the intimate scenes and dialogue, though I give it they were certainly written prettily enough.

Personally, I wanted more from the characters, but if you're into magical realism and are looking for a neat little twist to your usual contemporary fantasy and don't mind a bit of stunted romance, then this book is a good choice.