Publication Date: 2011 Number of Pages: 387 Part of a Series: No.
Good and evil
Geographical Setting/Time Period: London and Boston in the 19th century although the rest of the world is involved in the circus's travels.
Celia Brown: one of the game-players. She is six years old when the story begins. Her father is her trainer.
Marco: the second game-player. He is rescued from a London orphanage and trained in the ways of the game by his benefactor.
Secondary but important characters:
Prospero: a magician, father of Celia.
Alexander: also a magician, benefactor and trainer of Marco.
Widget and Poppet: twins born on opening night of the circus
Bailey Alden Clarke: a dreamer and contemporary of Widget and Poppet. He loves the circus and Poppet as well.
Chandresh Lefevre: an organizer of lavish events, inordinately lucky with returns on his dollar.
Two ancient magicians wager on the skills of two young people whom they train especially for the game. The venue for the challenge is a circus. Romance, intrigue and details describing the circus acts push the story through the time of telling. The players grow weary of the game and must struggle for a solution.
The tone of the book is romantic but not maudlin. There is mystery and delight in the lush descriptions of both the characters and the settings.
Twelve of the fire performers quietly enter the courtyard with small platforms that they set up along the perimeter like numbers on a clock. Precisely one minute before the hour, they each ascend their respective platforms and pull from their backs shimmering black bows and arrows. At thirty seconds before midnight, they light the tips their arrows with small dancing yellow flames. Those in the crowd who had not noticed them previously now watch in wonder. At ten seconds before the hour, they raise their bows and aim the flaming arrows at the waiting well of curling iron. As the clock begins to chime near the gates, the first archer lets his arrow fly, soaring over the crowd and hitting its mark in a shower of sparks. (p. 93)
Prizes or Awards:
Starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus. Novelist gives it a blue ribbon which I assume means First Prize!
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter. A cast of eccentric characters, unconventional stories and the circus as a setting ties these two titles together. Nights at the Circus is not quite as dark in tone as The Night Circus but does have a similar feel. (Novelist)
Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.