This was an interesting one. I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar for a long while now, and I’m always interested to know what Failbetter’s next project is. Last year, they released The Night Circus as a promotional game for the book of the same name. The game is filled with snippets from the book, and it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the magical world of Les Cirque Des Reves and the wonders of the circus.
When the book itself came out, I had to buy a copy. I didn’t get it immediately due to budget constraints, but when I did, I didn’t regret it. The book itself is gorgeous, emphasising the black and white themes of the story itself with crisp white pages edged in black, and a splash of red on the cover and the ribbon bookmark.
But enough about how I fell in love with the outside of the book.
The Night Circus tells an enchanting tale of a mysterious circus. It shows up unannounced, moving between towns without rhyme, reason or apparent schedule. Everything within the circus is black and white except for the patrons and the performers themselves. The circus is full of wonder, each tent revealing a new delight; impossible dreams made into reality.
Of course, it’s not just about the circus. A pair of long-lived rivals (one hesitates to call them magicians) have made another wager. Their new apprentices, trained in each other’s art and set against each other in a unique setting – The Night Circus. Created solely as a venue for the contest, the circus brings the two apprentices together as they begin to court each other by making new wonders in the circus for the other to admire. Rather than working against each other, they begin to work together and eventually manage to find a way to escape their fated end and secure the continuance of the circus once their contest is done.
I loved the story from the moment I started playing the game, and could barely put down the book once I had it. It was one of the most curious experiences I’ve ever had while reading: I simultaneously couldn’t wait to get to the next bit and find out what happened, but also couldn’t bear to miss something by reading too quickly.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the book, and I challenge you not to fall in love with it.