Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Published: Doubleday Sept 2011

Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.  But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.  True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Status: Read from December 01 to 03, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

I’ve delayed writing a review of The Night Circus because I have such mixed feelings about it. While I thought is was stunningly original and with rich and evocative imagery, I could never quite lose myself in the story the way I wanted to.
The magic is definitely in the dreamy depiction of the circus, the lavish detail and unique and interesting characters. The language is fluid and beautifully descriptive, I felt at times if I looked up from the page I would see the black and white striped tent walls or the clock ticking towards nightfall.

The narrative moves back and forth between the past and present from the delving into the lives of the challengers, Celia and Marco, a young man named Bailey and other characters sharing the circus’s secrets. The premise is intriguing, two rival magicians begin a game, using their unwitting proteges as pawns, to prove a point and Le Cirque des Reves becomes the field of play. I actually loved all of the elements of the story, they just didn’t come together the way I hoped they would.

Sadly for me, the slow pacing and almost disjointed development of the plot prevented me from truly sinking into the story. Everything takes just that bit too long to maintain suspense or interest including the romance between Celia and Marco. The pair don’t ‘tumble’ into love as the blurb suggests, neither does it grow, one day, it it simply is. There is very little immediacy or sense of drama in the game itself until the end. The challenges are indirect (though marvelously creative) and I missed the opportunity to witness the battles or confrontations that could have provided danger and excitement. None of it is helped by the physical and emotional distances between the characters and I felt their lack of connection to each other prevented me from becoming invested in them as well rounded individuals.

Still, I devoured parts of the book, captivated by the magical atmosphere, spellbound by the conjuring of visual delights and categorically unable to stop turning the pages. The Night Circus is something unique and remarkable and while not without its flaws, it should be on your reading list.

Available To Purchase

@ Amazon I @ Book Depository

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jules
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 06:30:51

    I wanted to read this book because I just love the cover, but I’m reading so many mixed reviews that IO think I’m going to skip reading it…



  2. Melliane
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 06:31:30

    I’m glad you liked it too! I agree it was sometimes difficult with the slower part, but it’s a really interesting book.



  3. roro @roro is reading[rogier]
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 07:43:01

    ooh tnx 4 review , still need to read this



  4. Tahlia Newland
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 10:51:27

    I felt exactly the same about this one.



  5. dixie
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 09:04:22

    I’m reading The Night Circus right now and really enjoying it. However, I was really thrown off at first by the shifts in time, and I had to keep going back to look at previous locations/dates to figure out the timeline. It was kind of a pain doing that on my nook rather than flipping back through a physical book. Once I sorted out the timeline in my head, I enjoyed it much more.



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Dec 20, 2011 @ 11:37:42

      I wonder if reading it in print might have been a little easier dixie. I am glad you are enjoying it though!



  6. Christina T
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 13:50:59

    I have this for review and I have a feeling I will have to force myself to read it. I think the only reason I requested it was because of all the buzz it received. I will give it a try and see what I think. Maybe the writing style will draw me in but I doubt it.



  7. Christopher Meades
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 15:47:46

    Thanks for the Review………..I’m definitely going to check this out….



  8. Trackback: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern « The Sleepless Reader
  9. Trackback: Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | The Lit Witch: A Book Blog

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