SUMMARY: (5 of 5 stars) A truly delightful book and my newest favorite.  Le Cirque des Rêves is a battleground between magicians.  It’s also a love letter written in magic: joyful, sumptuous, surprising, delightful, glorious.  Highly recommended reading.

SPOILER WARNING: From this point forward, I’m going to discuss this book without any concern about spoilers. So, if you don’t like spoilers you should stop reading now.

OMG OMG OMG OMG.  Everyone stop what you are doing and read this book immediately.  It’s so fun and so lovely and so, so, so… just wonderful.  I don’t even want to describe it to you because part of the fun of reading it is — like walking into a new tent at the circus — part of the fun is not knowing and simply being ready to be delighted.

I picked up this book after it was recommended on the Writing Excuses podcast.  The topic was NaNoWriMo and this novel is the result of Morgenstern’s efforts there in 2005?  I think?

The basic gist of the story is that two young children are adopted (kinda) by two magicians who tutor them in the ways of magic and then pit them against one another in a circus that drifts across continents and centuries.  The result is that this battleground of magicians becomes an enchanting circus of dreams, Le Cirque des Rêves.  Complications arise as the competitors fall in love with one another and begin to uncover the true nature of their competition.

The descriptions in the book are just so rich and sensuous.  Literally, she hits every sense in describing the spells and illusions.  And it’s never anything terrible or scary, just bewitching and lovely and full of emotion.

I love all of the characters, even the “villains.”  They’re all so unique and colorful.  They have their own quirks and unique qualities.  And it’s mostly set in the 19th century, which is a really great time period for characters of their kind.

It’s just so so good. I can’t wait to recommend it to… basically everyone.  But it is appropriate, I think, for young adults.  There’s nothing very terrible or salacious in it.  There’s one sex scene and it is described in only the very broadest of terms.  And there are just two deaths and they aren’t gory messes or anything like that… just tragic.

So, yes. Go read this book.  It’s great!