‘The Night Circus’

“The circus arrives without warning.
No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

This book is absolutely enchanting! I have heard that it has received quite mixed reviews but I absolutely loved it!

From the outset I was swept along with the magic of the circus, desperately wishing that I could be there, but feeling like I already was! The structure was essential in making the reader feel that they were visiting the circus as the novel was split into various sections from various perspectives. In one chapter you’d be walking through the circus into various tents, the sights and smells being described so wonderfully that you could taste the sweet cinnamon buns and smell the warm cocoa! Then you’d be whisked off to Chandresh’s mansion where you’d watch the events of the ‘Inclement Weather Parties’ or the fantastically mysterious dinner parties…then you’d visit Bailey, a true circus lover and take another different look at the Cirque du Reves. This book is truly wonderful!

Our two main characters, Celia and Marco, are bound together before they even meet in a twisted duel, organised by two bitter, expiring men – one of whom is Celia’s father, not that he acts like it! The circus brings them together with a host of other wonderfully unique characters and multiple threads of mysterious narrative, which make the book really hard to put down, almost as if it bewitched me as I read the words on the page. The book spans several years, during which time we really get a chance to watch the characters grow! Especially the twins, Poppet and Widget, who were born on the day that the circus opened for the first time! I don’t want to give too much away about the plot because I think it would ruin the magic a bit…but if you’re a dreamer, or a “reveur”…like me! You will cherish this book and recommend it to your family, friends and everyone who you wish to be a part of the magic!

The cover design is bold and striking! The book is a wonderful, magical read, which I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone!

‘The Leopard’

Holy Moly! Another corker from Jo Nesbo! What I love most of all about these books is that I cannot put them down! I get completely and utterly addicted to them!

Harry Hole returns again to help solve a string of murders, well… supposedly that’s not the reason he returned…his father Olav is sick in hospital. But from reading The Snowman, it becomes apparent that as much as he tries to fight it, he cannot leave his crime-solving days behind…he HAS to stop the bad guys! That is the brilliance of Hole’s character, yes he’s the typical off-the-wall detective but he’s way more complicated and that’s why we come back and why HE comes back time and time again, risking life and limb to stop deadly, psychotic serial killers from striking again.

The Leopard is an exciting, breathtaking, thrill ride of a novel and as well as keeping with The Snowman’s style, Nesbo even brings ‘The Snowman’ into this one! Which, if you’ve read that book…you will get goosebumps on the back of your neck and actually become a little frightened. I think it was a brilliant idea to do that because it reinstated the idea that, just because you’ve caught the bad guys…doesn’t mean they disappear…they continue to have the same thoughts, ideas, emotions that you were aware of before and it brings the initial fear right back to you. But don’t worry, ‘The Snowman’ is still incapacitated…increasingly so, it seems.

I think it’s also interesting that we share a lot of the same fears and feelings as Harry. As soon as Kaja (the attractive female officer who drags him back from Hong Kong…) appears on the scene, we immediately think ‘Oh god, she’s going to be in danger’ and it is apparent that Harry feels the same way, keeping her at a distance for a while…but from our knowledge of Harry’s personality, we know that if he does allow himself to get close to her, he will protect her if it is the last thing he does.

I love Nesbo’s writing! We empathise, sympathise, share the same fear and the same emotions…albeit from the comfort of the tube/sofa/bed. I even felt a bit claustrophobic after the avalanche traps Harry and Kaja up in the mountains! This really is a credit to Nesbo’s style. His descriptions are tangible, the narratives are enthralling and the characters are really believable!

I’m desperate to get my hands on some of the earlier ‘Harry Hole’ books and try to see what has made him into the character he is in The Leopard. I know some people don’t approve of reading the books in the “wrong” order but I don’t think it matters…I love postmodern/disjointed, mixed-up narratives as it is!

If you haven’t read The Snowman yet – shame on ¬†you! Go and read it now! Then read The Leopard maybe not straight away…you’ll be terrified! You won’t sleep! Fortunately, unlike me…you won’t have to read The Snowman when there are ACTUAL snowmen in your street and well, everywhere!

But I urge you to give Jo Nesbo a try…you won’t regret it!