The Night Circus

This has become something of a classic in my little library, a novel I've read every October since it was first published four years ago. I quite like reading it once a year, since it's a favorite of mine, and October is a great month to do it in since it's a month that means a lot to the story itself. If you've followed me for a while you've probably already read my review of this novel but if you haven't, keep reading to know all the reasons for why you should pick up The Night Circus and why you'll never regret reading it.

The circus of dreams, it's called, the mysterious and magical Night Circus that appears overnight, out of nowhere, and disappears just as quietly and without a trace. Like it was never there in the first place, like all your memories of it is only a dream. But the Night Circus is real and it's the venue of a very intricate competition in the art of magic. The two competitors, Celia and Marco, has been bound together for many years now and they've prepared for the game even longer. But it's not until the Night Circus sees its light that the actually competition begins. Not many people, neither outside or inside the Circus itself, knows about the competition. They fall in love with the Circus because it's a respite from a boring, mundane life and offers everything you can dream and imagine in one spectacular experience. But what happens to the venue when the game is about to end?

I've loved The Night Circus since the first time I picked it up. Author Erin Morgenstern has created everything I ever wanted and the only thing I dislike with this book is the fact that the Circus isn't actually real. Every part of the novel is magnificent, from the interesting and intricate characters that moves the story forward to the Circus itself. You can smell the caramel, the bonfire, the cinnamon treats and the perfume of the other Circusgoers while you read. It's really like you're walking around in the Circus yourself and not many novels can create a world as realistic as this.

Unlike many books, this is one that spans out over many years. It's told in third person and alternate the point of view to suit the reader, so that you can get the most out of the novel. Every chapter starts with a name, a place, a month or sometimes a date as well as a year, making it easy to follow along in the story and not get confused where you are. You get to see parts of Celia and Marco's pasts and how the Circus came to be before a large portion of the novel is spent in the Circus while it travels around the world. Between chapters are smaller poems about the wonders in the Circus, making it feel even more real and believable.

This is my fourth time reading this novel now and I am still surprised at the new things I notice when I read. It's a book so full of amazingness that you can't possibly take it all in the first time you read and, I hope, never. To read this novel every October is something I actually long for months in advance and I really believe that this is a book for everyone. Pick it up, dive in and be amazed. This is an extraordinary novel and it remains one of my favorites.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Normally I'm not very interested in detective novels, mostly because many of them follow the same path but also since I usually know pretty early who the guilty one is. However, The Murders In the Rue Morgue is different, not only because it's the very first detective novel written and thus legendary in itself, but also because the author is Edgar Allan Poe, a favorite of mine. It's a rather short yet interesting story which will keep you guessing until the end.

Late one night on the Rue Morgue, a horrible act of crime is committed. A mother and a daughter, brutally murdered, yet there is no suspect in sight. It's clear that it wasn't a robbery and that the murderer is exceptionally strong. The police knows nothing and no witness can give enough information to solve the crime. Auguste Dupin is intrigued by this gruesome crime and takes it upon himself to solve it all. With sharp observational skills and a key sense of analyzing, Dupin manages, against all odds, to crack the case and find the unlikely murderer.

I like this story for many reasons, not least because it's a different type of detective novel. The writing is good but it's the plot itself, and Dupin most of all, that amazes me. To follow along in his way of thinking is fascinating and the solve itself is quite spectacular. It is, like I said previously, not a very long novel but definitely worth reading. If you haven’t already I really think you should give it a chance and see if you can outsmart Dupin or if you will be left surprised at the end.

 

Witch's Pyre

Due to a lot of schoolwork I haven't been able to read for pleasure quite as much as I've wanted the past few weeks. This is especially sad because a lot of long-awaited books have been published for the past month that I can't wait to dig into. One of these is Witch's Pyre, the last part in Josephine Angelini's Worldwalker trilogy.

Lily Proctor has done things she never could’ve imagined doing a year ago. Back then she was only a sick girl with a lot of allergies who spent most of her time in hospitals and her only friends were her sister Juliet and a guy named Tristan, who Lily was in love with. But after being transported from her world to a parallel universe where she met her double, Lillian, was told that she was a witch and taught by Lillian’s former lover, Rowan, Lily’s life changed forever. She’s doing unspeakable things and have had unspeakable things done to her. Rowan, who loved Lily and who Lily loved back, has betrayed her and Lily gambled everything when she decided to leave Salem and the Thirteen Cities to go west in search for the answer to the riddle that is the Woven, the horrifying, witch-made, mutated animals that plague the Thirteen Cities. Now Lily has lost something very dear to her and she’s standing in front of a strange place called Bower City and the answers to all her questions seems to be within reach, but was all she sacrificed worth it?

Bower City is the thing no one in the Thirteen Cities expected to find beyond the Ocean of Grass, beyond the vicious Woven called the Pride, the Pack and the Hive, but here it is. Lily and her coven enters a city run by Warrior Sisters, the bee-like Woven called the Hive who is known to kill everyone who bothers them. But Bower City turns out to be a nice place with kind people, with no crimes or starving families, with no fighting and no wars. But Lily and her coven soon realize that this is just an illusion. While Bower City seems perfect it’s actually too perfect. Everywhere is a Worker, a Woven closer to an actually bee than the Warrior Sisters, and they’re always watching. They’re always listening. They’re always threatening to sting you or carry you away if you get angry, sad or stressed. Violence is not tolerated but neither, it seems, are emotion. Lily and her coven knows that something is not quite right at Bower City but nothing could prepare them for the truth that lies within the city gates. Once they have it, once they finally know of everything they’ve always questioned, they need to decide if Lily’s double, Lillian, really is the worst thing out there or if they have to team up with her to settle the score with the Woven once and for all.

This was definitely an action-packed ending to Angelini’s trilogy. No matter what Lily does, an all-out war will tear down at Bower City and the only real choice she has is to decide what part she wants to play in it. After the loss of the Tristan from her world in the end of book two, Lily is heartbroken and confused when she reaches Bower City. Getting over the loss of her best friend and her first love proves impossible in a place where you’re not allowed to feel anything that isn’t close to happiness and slowly, Bower City is no longer the paradies they all hoped for, but rather a very nice prison.

Lily is reunited with Rowan as well, which gives more dynamic to the story. At first it’s all about finding her footing again and I liked how Angelini didn’t make it all about the brewing war but focused a lot on Lily and how she felt in the situation. She has to get over losing Tristan but she also have to forgive Rowan for what he did to her, or let him go forever. The path back to together is bumpy and awkward but Angelini guides her characters with a firm yet gentle hand. This story has so much depth and again, I thought it was nice that it wasn’t just about the political conflict. Both Lily and the reader needed time to adjust and accept everything that happened in the second book and Angelini allowed for this in the beginning of the third, which was nice, rather than to dive right into the action right away.

The secret of the Woven was a juicy one, well worth waiting two and a half books for. And just like the previous two books, the action was sharp and well-written, full of suspense at time and all-out fighting at others. Lily certainly pushes the boundaries in this one but I loved to see how much she’s grown since the first novel and to follow her character development throughout this one. I really think Angelini has done a great job with her characters, not only to make them feel human and real but in letting the reader see how they change and evolve throughout the books.

Another thing I liked was that, despite this being the last novel where everything would resolve itself, it wasn’t much longer than the previous two. Sometimes it feels like authors write the last part in the trilogy longer, mostly because there’s still so much to say which is often the case, but sometimes the length feels unnecessary and like it’s just being dragged out because the author can’t say goodbye to the story yet. That’s not the case here, which is a plus for me. I really do think that this is a nice and deserving end for this series and I’m more than a little sad that it’s over. I will miss longing for these books but I know I will return to them again in the future and I will certainly keep a lookout for what Angelini has in store next. If you’re uncertain if this parallel-world-witch-thing is for you then I say give it a go, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of these books!