From the back of the book-
In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Reves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.
Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the reveurs-the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter's daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer's apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love...
This historical fantasy presents an unusual love story. For the bulk of the novel the protagonists are unaware of each others identity, knowing only that they are in competition with each other to prove their superiority. Their main means of communication is through challenging each other to greater and greater feats of magic within the arena of the circus.
The idea of practitioners of different disciplines within the same field challenging each other for superiority isn't new. Neither is the enemies to friends to lovers concept. This book stands out because both of these aspects have been done so well. The characters are all larger than life but somehow fit easily in the story. Secondary characters are as well developed as primary ones. The plot manages to unfold gently without losing pace.
There is an unmistakable literary inclination here with layers of meaning and subtlties to be seen if the reader is so inclined (the symbolism of a black and white world being the most obvious) but the story can be enjoyed without contemplating those deeper levels.
Quite unlike anything I've read in a long while. Delightful-Lynn