Le Cirque des Reves is a mysterious traveling carnival that arrives unannounced, and opens only at night. Ostensibly the brainchild of artist ChandresLe Cirque des Reves is a mysterious traveling carnival that arrives unannounced, and opens only at night. Ostensibly the brainchild of artist Chandresh Christophe Lefevre, the circus features seemingly endless tents filled with performers, rides, and indoor landscapes for patrons to explore. Many find the circus magical because it actually is; Le Cirque has secretly been chosen as venue for a private competition between two magicians, who have bound their students into a mysterious test of magical methods. One student, Celia, performs in plain sight as an illusionist, while her rival, Marco, works behind the scenes as Lefevre’s assistant.
The circus is definitely the star here, as Celia’s and Marco’s creations make it a wonderfully imaginative setting. There is a seemingly endless labyrinth of puzzle-like rooms, a towering maze of fluffy clouds, and even a menagerie of paper animals. Morgenstern’s creations are fantastically descriptive, and titular circus would indeed be an awesome place to visit.
The story focuses not only on how the contest affects Celia and Marco, but also on those unwittingly caught up in the “game.” A secondary plot focuses on Bailey, a boy who falls in love with both the circus and one of its performers. The two stories converge at the end, and the payoff is overall pretty satisfying.
There are also short interludes told in the second person, documenting the reader’s own tour through the circus. While there is a nice twist to these in the end, oftentimes they seem redundant as Bailey especially seems to encounter many of the same things. The romance aspect is also a bit forced; the reader is told Celia and Marco love each other, but the relationship doesn’t seem that developed.
The Night Circus is certainly worth visiting, especially for fans of magical realism.
A review copy was provided by the publisher....more
**spoiler alert** Pretty Girl-13 follows Angie Chapman, a 13 year old girl who disappears from a Girl Scout camping trip, only to turn up at home thre**spoiler alert** Pretty Girl-13 follows Angie Chapman, a 13 year old girl who disappears from a Girl Scout camping trip, only to turn up at home three years later with no recollection of any events since leaving her tent. It is soon revealed that Angie has developed dissociative identity disorder (DID), to deal with the rather horrific events of her ordeal. Angie’s ordeal, revealed by her “alters,” is pretty horrific, involving not only kidnapping but imprisonment, torture, and rape.
Although the nature of DID is still rather uncertain, the way it’s handled here does seem fairly plausible, for the most part. At first it seems unbelievable that Angie would experience a split immediately upon her kidnapping, there is fortunately a plausible explanation in Angie’s past. That particular twist works well in the story, but other plot points just don’t seem very realistic.
While Angie’s therapy, although fictional, seems fairly possible, it seems strange that any psychologist would rely so heavily on hypnotherapy given its unreliable nature. The final major twist also seems like it shouldn’t have gone unnoticed.
Angie is revealed to have been impregnated by her captor, and gave birth to a baby boy. Her son was then give up for adoption by her abductor, and is then adopted by her neighbors. It seems a bit of a stretch that Angie would bear no physical evidence of having given birth, and that it would go unnoticed in an examination. Also, the odds of her child being adopted by the neighboring couple is highly unlikely.
A review copy was provided through the goodreads.com first reads program....more