The Cirque des Reves only opens at night, popping up in locations unannounced. It captures the imagination of many that visit. All the tents are black and white, with acrobats, a tarot card reader, an illusionist, and many other attractions. What many of the visitors and even most of the participants themselves don't know is that there is more going on at this circus than meets the eye.
Celia is a young girl with special talents. Though she has problems controlling them, she can move objects. Her father, world-famous Prospero, teaches her how to control and hone her skills. Then, Propero offers Celia up to his opponent Alexander in a game. Alexander must pick someone to compete against Celia, showing their magical abilities until one wins. The details are unclear.
As Celia grows older, she becomes the illusionist for the Cirque des Reves. Her opponent also works for the Cirque, but as an assistant to the man who starts the circus. His name is Marco. He learns quickly that Celia is his opponent but Celia doesn't find out for a while. The two create new tents in the circus, full of magical things, to compete against each other. They also grow to love each other, which will make the competition very complicated.
This book draws you in at the very start and takes you on a ride. I really enjoyed Morgenstern's story telling. The circus she created truly was magical and the reader really wants to know the intricacies of each tent in the circus, which are incredibly imaginative.
There were some character issues that had me confused. The two main characters, and opponents, Celia and Marco fell in love very quickly. Why? It was too quick and too convenient, which made it feel very fake. There were some weird character issues like this throughout the novel, though this didn't detract overall from the story.
First Line: "The circus arrives without warning."