I thought I was in trouble when I started this book. A.) It starts out in second person. B.) Everyone loves it and it's been extremely hyped. I worried about A because OH NO I HATE SECOND PERSON and about B because...well...this isn't fair, but I tend to automatically have a dislike of books that are hyped. But I soon found that there are only tiny vignettes throughout the book that are in second person and they're actually done quite well and are effective and also fuck hype...this book is good!
What truly made me go ahead and buy this book was an interview I heard with Morgenstern on NPR. She was intelligent, she was laid back, she was NOT pretentious, and when she talked about her book it just sounded amazing. And then to top it off, she quoted Neil Gaiman in the interview. Yeah...she won me over with that. And I'm so glad she did.
This is a tale of magic and love and loss and more magic and just total beauty. There are so many LEVELS to this story. There's a challenge between two magicians that neither has truly chosen. Rather it was bestowed upon them at a young age when their talent for true magic was discovered. There's the circus itself which is like nothing I've ever read about before which serves as the battle ground for the face off between the two magicians. There are the relationships between the circus goers and the circus performers and then the relationships between the individuals. And then there is the relationship between the two magicians, Celia and Marco.
I'm not going to tell you much more than that because this book is best left as something to uncover, layer by layer. It's haunting. It has some of the most beautiful imagery I've ever read...I actually wanted to say "seen" there, because it's that vivid. I wanted to BE at this circus. To walk it's alleys and enter it's tents. To see real magic performed before my eyes and wonder if it really COULD be real. I wanted to be a reveur and follow them in their travels when the tents mysteriously and suddenly appear in a new location.
Really everything about this book is magical. Not just the magic itself, but the writing...the characters...the history...the settings. It's all so beautiful. It all takes you away to another place entirely as a good story should.
I had one qualm with this book and it has nothing to do with the book actually...more with the marketing. I've heard many people...bloggers and publicity say "oh no, this is not a YA book...it's an ADULT book." Why? Why does it matter? And I guess this doesn't have to do specifically with this book...this just happens to be the latest to do that. I ADORE so many books that fall into the YA category. But I kinda hate that it's a category (it's not a genre people). Why CAN'T this be a YA book? It's not like there's explicit sex (though there's some) or heavy drinking or drugs or whatever else you're gonna say. Yes, it's not childish. But YA doesn't have to be. For that matter, "childish" books don't have to be just for children either. I guess I have no problem with the YA label...but it's when something is "oh no, definitely not YA" that I get aggravated. Because it almost infers that if a book is intelligent or has deep meaning that it can't be read by young adults.
Anyway...OFF OF MY SOAPBOX NOW!! Read this! Read it now!! Adults AND Young adults!