I’ve set a challenge on GoodReads to read 52 books this year. The first new one I started was Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Last year I stumbled upon a game called Fallen London. One of FailBetter Games’ other projects was Night Circus. Both projects are interactive stories based around a card and inventory system. While Fallen London works better as a game-like interactive story, Night Circus’ story held me captive. I knew there was a book, so I stopped playing. I kept getting cards I just used or couldn’t use, so it would’ve taken me a lot of waiting time before I knew the whole story. I went to London for some Christmas shopping and of course I went to Waterstones. That’s where I found the book.
I finished it yesterday and the story was everything I thought it would be and more. One of the notable elements of this story (not just the book) is the atmosphere. The circus is named Le Cirque des Rêves, the fans of the circus rêveurs and the magic is real. The circus itself is all black and white, the rêveurs all dress in white, grey and black with a dash of bright red and the cover of the book is black, white and red. The lack of colours and the magic is all part of the circus’ mystery. The introduction of the circus, the arrival, the departure, the people, all add to the mystery. As a player, you just ‘encounter’ the circus. This is what you’re greeted with.
The circus arrives without warning
No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not…
This is also the writing style of the book. It’s slow, it’s poetic, it makes the magic and mystery seem real. The love story between Celia and Marco is beautiful, one I haven’t read in a while. The characters are perfect, mostly because of their imperfections.
The story starts around 1880 London. The British culture is unmistakably there. The cups of tea, rain and bowler hats. It’s also one of my favorite eras to read about. Somewhere in that turn from the 19th century and the 20th century, London was magical. Maybe it still is.
I know I will read this book again and again. I want to experience the magic again and I honestly wish I could visit the circus. If you’re willing to become enchanted, you should definitely check out the book or the game, maybe both.