The Night Circus Book Review (Published 2011)
By Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Book club
LP's Rating: 3/5 stars
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.
My Review. Overall this book was a good read. It was full of mystery and enchantment and a love story I could really cheer for. There were characters I wanted to smack and others I wanted to squeeze for being so sweet, and I like that because I get more involved that way. Going back and forth between timelines was mostly confusing for me toward the end, when the two timelines were finally meshing. There were tons of questions throughout the book that kept me reading, which is good, and while I didn't find some of the resolutions super exciting, the ending was satisfying. There were also a lot of characters to keep track of, and I found myself getting confused as to who was who, so pay attention to the names!
What I liked.
It was creative. I would love to see this book turned into a film with vivid colors, defying feats, and amazing costumes. I read this for book club and the story has given us so much to discuss from how we interpreted what was going on, the role each character would inevitably play, and so on. It was really interesting to hear other people's hypothesis halfway through the book and it helped me to go into the second half with other people's observations in mind. It was a great choice to read with the group.
Prose. It was beautifully written and easy enough to follow, as long as your imagination is WIDE OPEN and you allow for the impossible to become a reality in this story. The author write eloquently and purposefully, which helps with the flow and to pull the reader in.
Description. I felt like I could really see what was going on, that I could smell the candy, feel the fire, see Celia's dress changing color. The author did a great job of bringing the reader into her mind, showing us what she see, feeling what she's feeling for her characters, and that's not an easy task.
What I didn't like.
Too much description. Although I loved how vivid the circus was in my mind, I truly felt like there was so much description I was skimming through a lot of it from the middle of the book on. I don't like doing that because I know I risk missing something important, but there's just so much going on, so many questions I wanted answered, that reading four paragraphs describing a new tent or something to that nature was hard to justify.
The Ending. I'm torn because part of me wanted answers, and I got them, but I also feel like it wasn't very moving or satisfying. This books is filled with so much mystery, I really thought I would be like, "Holy Crap!" but I didn't get that as all the pieces came together.
Book clubs should read this for sure. If you like magic and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the circus, you'll probably enjoy this. If you love imagery and vivid description, this a book for you. If you're reading it for the romance, there's not very much so this probably wouldn't be the book for you. I gave this book a 3/5 stars because as much as I enjoyed it, I also didn't feel super fulfilled at the end and since that's the lasting impression, I'm a tad torn on how to rate it.