Where Are They Now?

Every week The Broke and the Bookish hosts a fantastic feature called Top Ten Tuesday. I love lists and this week’s theme of “checking in” really spoke to me, as I seem to be feeling rather nostalgic. The ladies and B&B want to know about what characters you’d like to look in on, now that the book or series is over. So here’s my top ten musings about where my favorite characters ended up, in no particular order.

86678481. Gallowglass from Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy. I feel like Diana and Matthew’s story wrapped up pretty nicely, but I’m dying to know what Gallowglass is doing (and if I can come along). Gallowglass is a smart, sensitive bad boy with tattoos, a motorcycle and immortal life. His story seemed so unfinished at the end of The Book of Life and I’ve heard whisperings that if Harkness picked up the All Souls world again, he might be one of the main characters.

138332. Daine and Numair, from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books. Out of all of Pierce’s Tortallan cast, I feel like their story was the most open to new adventures. Do they ever get married? What are their children like? Does Kitten (the dragon) still live with them? What can Daine do now that she’s even further along her journey as a demi-god? Does she ever see her parents? So many questions.

7719533. Elnora Comstock from Gene Stratton Porter’s A Girl of the Limberlost. Y’all know this is my favorite book of all time and I would love to know the entire story of Elnora’s life. I feel like she must have grown into such an interesting old woman. What was she like in the 20s? Did she ever cast off convention and start wearing pant in the Limberlost? Sure, I’d like to know what happens to good old Phil, but you know their marriage probably isn’t the most interesting part of whatever happens next for Elnora.

22945284. Sophie Hatter from Diana Wynne Jones Howl’s Moving Castle books. You get sneak peeks of her later in the series, but I feel like Sophie and Howl are out there having so many wonderful adventures and arguments.


2590355. Arabella Strange from Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. The most frustrating thing in the world to me about that book is that it isn’t all about Arabella Strange. Seriously, at some point all I cared about was where she went and what happened to her. Supposedly, Clarke may write a sequel, but it’s up in the air and until then, I’m grumpily left wondering.

6. Ka13528340rou from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I felt like those books could have gone on for longer and I would have been very happy.



11620167. Aeriel and Erin from Meredith Ann Pierce’s The Darkangel Trilogy. Those girls were about to set off on one epic adventure at the end of The Pearl the Soul of the World. I’m dying to know if they’re more than friends and what it takes to put the world back together.


TheNightCircus8. Everyone from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. This is one that I’m happy to imagine in my head, since I dream of joining the circus myself. If Morgenstern ever tells, I’ll certainly read it, but I’m happy with my daydreams.


418659. Everyone from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books that are not Edward and Bella. Seriously, don’t you want to know the entire backstory on Alice? Rosalie? So it’s not exactly that I want to check back in with them to know what they’re doing now, it’s that I want to know about them period.


323380210. This one breaks my heart a little to say, but it’s been 20 years and I fear Isobelle Carmody is never going to finish the Obernewtyn Chronicles and I love them so much. I will buy the entire series in hardcover the day that Penguin announces The Red Queen’s actual release. It will be one of the sorrows of my life if I never know what happens to Elspeth. OMG, this is making me emotional… Probably best that I’m at 10!

Who would you like to check in with most, if you could? 

Read Alyssa’s most recent Top Ten Tuesday on Spellbinding Books and Nicola’s on The Prattle of Hastings.

Allison Carr Waechter is a writer, teacher and tired cat mom. Her Colorado roots leave her in constant, open-mouthed wonder this time of year in Missouri, so if you follow her on Twitter, expect to see a lot of chatter about trees and plants. This cycle repeats in the fall. 


A Rêveur’s Recommendation: The Night Circus

TheNightCircus“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it… It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern is, without a doubt, the book I recommend most to others. They post on Facebook, twitter, tumblr or wherever, “What should I read next?” and I reply, “The Night Circus.” If I had to narrow it down to just one reason, I’d say it’s  a beautiful book, but that doesn’t seem quite right. The hardcover copy is gorgeous; the tent even has a different texture than the rest of the jacket. The lining is a rich black and white stripe and the constellation illustrations throughout the book are charming.

We all know the cover of the book isn’t supposed to matter, but in this case, it supports Morgenstern’s beautiful depiction of the circus. The physical book seems to be an incarnation of the circus itself and it’s one of the few new books I made the effort to procure a real copy of. The core narrative is this: two magicians raise a boy (Marco) and a girl (Celia) respectively to compete as their proteges in an ongoing, ostensibly magical, competition. What exactly they’re competing for or what they are meant to do to win, or what might happen when someone does win, is all somewhat hazy. The only thing that’s clear is the venue in which they are to compete: The Night Circus, le Cirque des Rêves.

The story itself revolves around the creation and eventual travels of the circus, with a supporting cast of characters that come off with remarkable depth, considering the book is only 387 pages long. The main story, is that of Marco and Celia and how they affect the circus and one another. The circus and the competition take center stage as Marco and Celia blindly create one illusion after another, and eventually the competition that has no known rules unwittingly becomes a collaboration.

Woven in with the main story of the competition are a fistful of other narratives that contribute to the final outcome of the story, but make the journey to the end a twisty path. Luckily, the characters that populate those narratives are easy to care for; though you may not be quite sure how they fit in, you’re invested in how things turn out for them. Tsukiko, the contortionist, is a particular favorite for me.

I’ve heard the complaint that The Night Circus is difficult to follow, and I agree that the way the story unfolds is complicated; the story itself is complex and mysterious, so there’s a lot of layers. I’ll be honest, it’s a book that needs to be read twice: once to get the circus firmly embedded in your imagination and another to let the actual story sink in. I posit that though the novel describes a somewhat dark, magical competition and its results, the most compelling aspect of the book is the circus itself.

For me, The Night Circus is an exercise in imagination, le Cirque des Rêves is a place I go to in daydreams. Its stark black and white palette, punctuated by a shot of red here and there, the magical fire at its center, the ever-changing tents, it’s all there for me, thanks to Morgenstern’s generous and lush descriptions.

I am, in short, a rêveur, one of the novel’s best creations. Rêveurs are circus lovers who hunt down the elusive Cirque and make every attempt to visit it throughout their lives. Were the circus a real phenomenon, I would happily follow it to the ends of the earth. You’d find me in a long black coat and a red silk scarf ducking in and out of tents at every stop the circus makes. Much like Narnia and Hogwarts, I keep my eye out for le Cirque des Rêves, always hoping it will turn out to be real.

One of my favorite illustrators, Abigail Larson, made a gorgeous depiction of Celia that evokes the spirit of the book quite well. The book has inspired tons of art, check some out on Pinterest.

Allison Carr Waechter is a writer, a teacher, a cat herder, a dogmom and tea drinker. She’s probably busy trying to slather butter on toast and read another chapter from a library book at the same time. She’s a terrible multi-tasker and her hair is almost always a mess. You can visit her on twitter or at her website if you want to check in.