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The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
(Doubleday, $27)

It’s the late 19th century and the circus is coming to town, bringing with it a sublime and theatrical fantasy. But Le Cirque des Rêves is no ordinary show, appearing only at night and in a different corner of the world each time. Behind the curtain, a zero-sum game plays out between a pair of love-struck magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood for battle as pawns of their rival mentors. This gorgeous debut from Erin Morgenstern electrifies in breathless, savory prose against the backdrop of a cerebral circus.