The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As I read this, I kept thinking "I'll bet they could emulate this for real..." and "wouldn't this make an amazing movie?" The tents felt so real, I wanted to go to the Cirque des Reves!
The puzzle of the challenge bothered me a little; there seemed to be no rules, and Celia and Marco are sort of flailing around trying to figure out what was expected of them and what the outcome could have been. Was it about natural vs learned ability? Was there something more? Who knows? And ultimately, when we find out, it doesn't matter. The world of the Cirque is so very real, despite the use of magic, and the people that people it so interesting I didn't care about who won. By the time we learn how important Poppet, Widget and Bailey are to the future of the Cirque I'm rooting for them to somehow continue to today.
This was so magical that words can't fully capture the ice room, the clocks, the various living statues and all the other things that encompass the Cirque. Just read it.