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Ugh, guys, this one totally put me into book hangover. It ended and I was left wanting to read more, but not wanting to read ANYTHING I had on my current list or my bookshelf. Very strange feeling, particularly because I listened to this one!
This was another audiobook that I picked up, narrated by Jim Dale. The basic premise of it is that two magicians are raised/trained to compete with each other, with the circus (Le Cirque des Rêves) being their arena. While his character’s voices seemed off at times, Jim Dale does a great job at putting the magic into the story. Not only does Morgenstern do a wonderful job at describing the wonders of the circus and giving life to it, Dale definitely does the descriptions justice with his voice.
The whole set-up of the “game” is very interesting, but it leaves you feeling terrible for the main characters, Celia and Marco. They both grow up knowing nothing but the magical game they are being trained for. Marco in particular leads an incredibly lonely life, though he at least isn’t haunted by his teacher in his adult years like Celia is. And then there’s the point when they finally discover how the game is won, and you’re just left wanting to kill Prospero and Mr. A H for being so cruel.
There were A LOT of characters to pay attention to in this book. Some of their names were a bit familiar, and I really had to pay attention during the audio to make sure I wasn’t getting anyone mixed up. This wouldn’t have been a problem during reading I don’t think. I actually liked having all the characters though. This book could have easily been about Propero, Mr. A H, Celia, Marco, and a few minor characters, but instead Morgenstern discusses all the characters and how the circus and the game impacts them individually.
I did find the time jumps hard to follow. I’m not sure if it would be easier to understand where you are in the timeline if you were reading, but I was constantly leaning an ear towards the stereo as Dale said the date, and then trying to go through my mind where we were. If it were just flashbacks and flashforwards, using the same character or two, it may have been easier. But, because Morgenstern uses so many characters, both in the past, present and future, it was really hard at times to figure out where we were chronologically.
The ending somewhat surprised me, and I think it’s why I struggled with some book hangover. I wanted more. I mean, it was all tied up in a nice little bow, in a way I never expected. But I just desired more from the way the game ended. I think because it was presented in that mixed timeline order, some of the intensity of it was lost, particularly with the plot twist from Tsukiko.
Gosh, the way my review has gone, you’d think I just thought it was okay. I actually loved the book, Morgenstern had such a great way with words. I just think I may have loved it even more if I had read it and been able to follow along better, despite Dale’s voice adding to the magical-ness of it. Anyone who enjoys the whimsy and fantastical will enjoy this book, though I might recommending doing some hard considering before picking up the audio.
Also as a final note, while looking up certain spellings (audio often lends itself to this requirement when reviewing), I happened to find out that the book is being adapted for a movie by Summit Entertainment. At this point it floors me that flimmakers seem to be completely out of ideas; when was the last time you saw a movie that wasn’t based on a book or a remake of an original film???? I think it’ll have to be done just right in order to recapture the magic of the book, and I’m not sure that will happen.
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