Morgenstern, Erin. The Night Circus
Two rival magicians meet and seal a pact: each will train a protégé, and those protégés will compete in a contest only their masters fully understand. The ground on which the contest will be fought is Le Cirque des Reves—the mysterious monochrome Circus of Dreams, which arrives without warning to delight, amaze, and quite literally entrance its audience. The contestants are Celia, a young woman naturally skilled in illusions which only pretend to be illusory; and Marco, a strapping young man whose talents were won through research and study but are no less mesmerising for the effort involved. But when the two meet, their competition becomes a forbidden romance as both put their talents to work wooing the other and their masters look on, disapproving. The situation seems primed for tragedy, but can the other members of Le Cirque des Reves lend their myriad talents to save the lovers?
Whimsical, inventive, and wonderfully crafted, The Night Circus is a treat. Recommended for fans of Susanna Clarke, Peter Beagle, and Neil Gaiman.