Blurb: (Film Trailer)
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:
Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn
As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.
Review: (Video review)
This book is said to be ‘Dazzling’ and ‘Enchanting’, and I have to agree. Its magical aspects make you feel involved in a world of its own. I liked the initial mystery and the character presented. Mr. A. H and Hector Bowen AKA, ‘Prospero the Enchanter’, commence a challenge between Marco and Hector’s daughter Celia that forever changes their fates. They must both create spectacular magic for a travelling magical circus. Their performances must baffle their spectators and that won’t be easy; not for Celia anyway. Although the magical elements and the enchanting dazzlement are inspiring, they quickly faded for me after a few chapters as the story carried on with much the same tellings of the wonders displayed in the different tents of the circus. Had I gone into the book with the expectation of a visit to the circus I would have been impressed, going into it with the expectation of being taken through a journey with a beginning a twist and a breathtaking resolution, I felt disappointed. This book could have easily become a highly scored piece of work if it would have been half its length and had a more dramatic ending.
Message & Moral
For the life of me I can’t see a message with this story other than for people who are unable to go to the circus, being able to feel the essence of it through the script. In the book there is a quote that I believe sums up the book nicely. It is written by one of the fans of the circus that often visits it and writes about what he experienced.
“I find I think of myself not as a writer so much as someone who provides a gateway, a tangential route for readers to reach the circus. To visit the circus again, if only in their minds, when they are unable to attend it physically. I relay it through printed words on crumpled newsprint, words that they can read agains and again, returning to the circus whenever they wish, regardless of time of day or physical location. Transporting them at will. When put that way, it sounds rather like magic, doesn’t it?” Friedrick Thiessen, 1898
Creatures & Environment
The story is set in the years between 1850 and 1905 and I believe that the writing style, the environment and the people are portrayed accordingly. The staff at the circus is what I think makes this book into what it is. They are quirky and unique personalities that have a mysterious edge. Although, I feel it doesn’t have the range of personality that also explores the darker sides of people, it is all just lovely, which is highly unlikely in a community. There would most likely be some kind of jealousy, bickering or arguments that turns into physical fights.
The environment has that Dazzling and Enchanting element mentioned, however after having told what the circus contains it doesn’t go much further than that and hence makes it very limited in scope. Having that said, I did enjoy reading the author’s imaginative ways of producing different wondrous tents.
Captivation and Continuity
The main challenge that was referred to again and again in this book was kept a secret from the reader as well as the two contestants and hence lost me in terms of understanding where the story was heading. It made me feel trapped in a circus without knowing when I could leave and what was meant to happen next. If felt unsettling and tedious. As the ending wasn’t then completely out of this world it was hard to feel excited about the story after I had finished it.
Language & Flow
The language was a solid performance with great literacy and an interesting and above all imaginative way of explaining the grounds of the Circus. It was easy to read and I only wish it hadn’t been so long.
T.M. Caruana’s Grimoire Award