The Night Circus (Doubleday, $26.95) has received rave reviews both nationwide and from P&P booksellers. Inspired by the interactive dramatic magic of the Punchdrunk Theatre Company, Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel imagines the world’s most extraordinary traveling circus. Celia and Marco have been raised from childhood as adversaries, though they’re unaware of their contest; Le Cirque des Rêves is the arena in which they compete by performing ever more imaginative, beautiful, and complex illusions. At their most thrilling, the enchantments generate a mystical conversation; however, the sorcery of the pair’s rival mentors has bound the couple to play out their beautiful task to a deadly conclusion. You will be transfixed by this intricately conceived drama, which blends magic and intrigue with the loves, longings, ambitions, and, ultimately, loss of these unique conjurors.
Out of Oz (William Morrow, $26.99), the eagerly awaited conclusion to the Wicked Years, has arrived. A battle for the future of the Thropp dynasty is under way, as Elphaba and Nessarose’s younger brother, Shell, the Emperor Apostle, increases his influence; and the political power struggle continues in the Emerald City and spreads into a civil war, as the witch Mombey, who changes her heads as others change hats, challenges his ambitions. A former acting ruler of Oz, Glinda is placed under house arrest; the Lion, Candle, and Liir are on the run to protect the otherworldly Grimmerie. As always, the future depends on children: Rain, a broom girl from Glinda’s entourage; a young street urchin named Tip; and the legendary Dorothy. Gregory Maguire has an amazing knack for honoring the L. Frank Baum tradition while integrating new characters who both complicate and deepen that magical reality.
The latest installment in the career of His Grace, the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Blackboard Monitor etc., Snuff, has the old copper ordered off to a vacation in the countryside, ostensibly for some rest and relaxation. Of course, he ends up up to his neck in the action—this time, there’s a little fuss involving goblins. Sir Terry Pratchett, no doubt Blackboard Monitor etc., has been doing this for so long that you’d think it would pall, but the Discworld series is as fresh and funny as ever, despite its creator’s 2007 Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Long may it continue.