Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusSource: Library
Publisher: Doubleday
Edition: Hardcover, 387 pages
Genre: Literary Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 5/5

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.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

When you first see The Night Circus you can immediately see the beauty of it, how it’s entirely unique when sitting on a shelf. It’s easy to see the cover appeal which moves into the book with gorgeous stripped pages and pages with nothing but starry skies, but what is truly beautiful and unique is the story itself.  It centers around the mysterious and charming Night Circus as well as two young magicians who have put their life into it though it is not truly ‘theirs’.

Morgenstern takes a story and weaves it together slowly and deliberately until we see the full and final picture, with her unconventional style and beautiful details. The story switches between two timelines in a sort of ‘then’ and ‘now’ set up until the two finally converge near the end, it’s not at all confusing since the dates are printed at the top of each chapter. There are also little sections where it is written as if you were there, watching the shows and smelling the caramel tinged air. I think this combined with the detailed style in the normal narrative really works wonders in terms of immersion and when I closed the book for good I found myself missing it. I felt like I had seen the black and white striped tents filled with sights normally on found in dreams.

Celia and Marco are two magicians who are bound together in a competition set before them by their teachers, and despite the lack of information find themselves with a rather unusual venue, The Night Circus. Celia is a incredibly smart and charming young woman who struggles with control and a painful past. I truly loved Celia. She’s incredibly friendly and she put so much of herself into everything she helps with, and given that her teacher is an incredible jerk I loved her all the more for it. Marco is also a charming individual who prefers to write and plan meticulously until his fingers are ink stained. I really loved their stories and how they slowly overtime come together as they work to win a competition they care nothing about. Then there are the wonderful side characters who are actually main characters in their own right. They are surrounded in their own appeal and their own stories, some of which Morgenstern tells us while others she leaves to mystery.

This is one book I wish I had purchased instead of borrowing from the library. It’s gorgeous to look at and amazing to read. I can definitely see this as a book I’d enjoy revisiting in the future.

5 stars

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2013) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. Briana says:

    This book is so immensely beautiful. I’m glad I bought a copy upfront, although I haven’t reread it yet. I’ll read anything Morgenstern writes next, though I will always have a secret fear it can’t be as unique or moving as The Night Circus!

  2. I loved how unique and beautiful this story was. I agree with you – she did such a good job being detailed enough that you felt totally immersed in the story and somehow it didn’t seem like the story was dragging. I loved the side characters too. My favorite was the red-haired girl ( sorry I can’t remember her name!). Lovely review 🙂

  3. I have shied away from this one for some reason, but sounds like I should rethink

  4. Oh good, we can continue being buddies. That might’ve been a different story had you not liked this book. lol. I won a signed copy when it first came out, and it is 1 of 2 books I will not get rid of. I loved it so much!

  5. I was recommended this so many times when I worked at borders.. yet I never got around to it.. why? I have no clue. I agree the cover is gorgeous, and the story sounds really great! I think I will add it to my nook I do own it.. just haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m trying to keep my nook filled with only a couple books so that I don’t have the chance to read something random instead of my “list” haha

  6. Great review Michelle, I loved this book as well it was so evocative of the amazing circus and felt truly magical. I loved those midnight balls too! For me, unfortunately I found it a little hard to connect to Celia and Marco. They kind of seemed flat. I hope this turns into a movie, it would be amazing!

  7. I have been wanting to read this book for a while. I really enjoyed your review and the way you described the story. It has be reconsidering where I can fit it into my schedule 🙂

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

  8. I bought and read this book on a whim about 2 years ago, and I was really pleasantly entertained by it. This book was definitely beautiful inside and out. It was so easy to get lost in the circus and competition. The descriptions and characters are just so wonderful. I love this book and I’m glad you loved it too.

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