I LOVED this book. Amazingly compelling and full of wonder, it was unlike anything else that I have read and kept me enthralled the entire time I was reading it. Based on a challenge between an old "magician" and his one-time mentor, a young woman (Celia, the magician's daughter) and a young man (Marco, the mentor's choice) are unwittingly pitted against each other - bound by supernatural rings - in an effort for the old men to prove the dominance of their personal philosophy on magic. Both of the competitors are blessed with remarkable powers, and each of their instructors attempts to prepare them for the challenge, the platform for which is a traveling night circus.
As the circus continues, the participants begin to realize that they are unnaturally held in time - they are not aging, or at least are aging slowly enough to seem as such. Marco, stuck in London taking care of the paperwork side of the circus, creates new marvels remotely, while Celia, working as the illusionist at the circus, responds on location. He knows that she is his competitor, but she does not until a great deal into the challenge. Both of their instructors have informed them of the competition, but they do not have all of the details, as the two old men have been purposefully vague.
How much did I want to be with the night circus and be able to see the spectacular feats of magic that these two had created! I was not as compelled by the love story as I was by the existence of the circus itself, and the remarkable goings-on.
Great read, recommended to anyone who likes things that are awesome.