This book was a big ball of confusion for me. I'm not really sure that I was ever certain what was going on. For a good bit I thought two separate characters were one character pretending to be two different people. It was kind of a mess in that respect, for me at least.
That being said, while I was confused throughout most of the story, I was also fascinated by it. I'm not sure what drew me in, but even in my perplexed state, I was eager to read more, to see what what happen next.
I enjoyed the protagonists Celia and Marco, hated the antagonists Alexander and Hector, and pretty much all of the side characters endeared themselves to me. I loved the circus. It was magical--literally and figuratively-- and romantic. As one character stated it was basically love letters from Marco and Celia to one another. It was so sweet and utterly sad at the same time. They were thrown together in a complicated competition without their consent, which started when they were children (so they wouldn't have been able to make an informed choice anyway) and lasted well into adulthood. So many other innocent bystanders were dragged into this twisted game concocted by ridiculous men who clearly thought much too highly of themselves, but were too cowardly to fight it out on their own. They did this with no thought or care as to how it would effect the participants or the non-participates that were swept up in the game. And the sacrifices that had to be made in order to end the game were just heart-wrenching, if a little romantic.
The author is clearly a mad genius for concocting and bringing the tale to life--even if I was completely befuddled. But in the end, I can't really decide whether I loved or hated it. I think a future re-read may tip the scales one way or the other. I think the fact that I want to reread this in the future is telling (I probably really love it.) For now I will just say, the story was definitely captivating.