A work of marvels and wonders. Two magicians set (another) challenge at each other, that their students are to strive to outdo each other. The venue of this is the title circus, done up in black and white and open only at night.
This work unfolds its story, the events described in a dream-like sequence, not strictly temporal. As befits the wonders of it. (It remind me a bit of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell with its descriptions of the tents and what they contained.
And in this venue, Celia and Marco work out their competition, and interact with all the souls who went to make up the circus, from the red-haired twins, known as Poppet and Widget, who were born at midnight on the day the circus first opened, to Herr Thiessen, the clockmaker who made a fantastic elaborate clock with everything from books with pages to turn, to a princess pacing while a dragon's prisoner, with no sign of the knight, and then became the first of the reveurs, who follow the circus as much as they can.
It involves Tarot (and The Magician, The Priestess, The Knight of Swords, and Temperance), and falling in love, and the mysterious past of a contortionist, the colorful anniversary party on the thirteenth anniversary, marmalade colored kittens, a wishing tree where you light candles, a maze of clouds, a boy who climbed a tree and was dared to go within, and came back with a glove, learning what the conditions of victory are, and much more.