Monday, October 3, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Doubleday
Age: Young Adult
Species: Exceptional Humans/ Humans
Rating: Un-rateable
Interest: The Circus/Magicians/Hype/Love Story/ Magic

"Opens at Nightfall; Closes at Dawn." The Le Cirque des RĂªves is a circus unlike any other, just as this magical debut novel is equally unique. At the center of The Night Circus spectacle are two specially gifted young magicians, Celia and Marco, pitted against each other in professional competition, drawn towards one another in love.

The Night Circus is not a book I can rate. If pressed, I would say it's a good book, but one that shouldn't be picked up lightly. It is not a fun romp through a wild setting. This book is complicated at best. So many elements are interconnected that it's virtually impossible to separate them all and grade them. I could talk about the contortionist's motives, the proprietor's actions, the magician's complicated relationship, the pawns, the tents and I still wouldn't even touch half of the circus and what should be talked about.

Morgenstern's writing was phenomenal. I got lost in descriptions of the circus. Everything was so vibrant and beautiful in the book. I could taste the caramel apples, I could feel the cold air of autumn, I could even sense some of the awe and wonder all of the circus attendees were experiencing. The Night Circus is a perfect book to read close to the fall, it captures the magic and possibility of the season and I loved that since I am addicted to the look and feel of autumn.

Surprisingly though, for being so well written, I did not have an intense connection to any of the characters. It was odd. There weren't any characters that I wished didn't exist, but there weren't many I would have cared about if they died either. I had my favorites like Poppet, Widget, Bailey, Marco, Celia, Herr Thiessen and sometime Tsukiko. Beyond them though, no one really caught my interest. I feel like that's the drawback of third person narrative. To a certain extent, it cuts me off from the characters and what they're really feeling, I simply don't enjoy that. There's a definite difference in "Celia caught Marco's eyes and shivered in pleasure" and "I caught Marco's eyes and shivered in pleasure" *These sentences are not in the book, I made them up as an example.* In spite of disliking the feeling of being cut off, I firmly believe The Night Circus had to be told in third person. There was too many people and emotions to keep track of to do it any other way.

The Night Circus is... like The Night Circus. Before that obviously repetitive sentence turns you off this entire paragraph, allow me to explain. The Night Circus is a place full of mystery and magic. Walking into any given tent can either delight, worry, stimulate or leave a person entirely puzzled. Anyone could walk around for hours, entering any tent they find and still not grasp the full scope of what's going on there. That is exactly like reading the book. You're led through circles and loops, told things that make sense and not, given rules that act more like guidelines, feel passionate about certain events and nothing about others, it's all like the circus. I don't feel like there's any possible way to understand the entire book in one sitting. In fact, that subject is touched upon in the novel itself. The proprietor of the circus claims he'd rather not know the full way something works since it destroys some of the magic and drama surrounding it.

By the way, I was looking up how to spell Herr Thiessen's name for this review and I found something highly interesting. Herr Thiessen has a twitter. (I know, how can that be?) Anyway, he posts information about the circus and replies to fellow tweeters. The piece de resistance however, is at, there is an actual twitter and facebook game you can play where you can meet the characters and travel through The Night Circus, it's very interesting and fun. I'd highly recommend checking it out, even if you don't read the book.

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about The Night Circus. It's an extremely magical, lovely but most of all, confusing novel. I wasn't able to finish it for two weeks, trying to decipher and connect all parts of the book. It is worth the reading, no argument about that, but I feel like you have to be patient with the book. If something isn't immediately clear or easily explained, just wait it out and look for the clues. I'd recommend this book to any circus fanatics, magician lovers, mystery fans and any odd person out there.

Teaser Lines: “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

Happy Reading, 


  1. Hm, what an interesting review. To be honest, it's the first less-than-glowing thing we've read about this book, so we definitely paid attention. It sounds like mostly you were missing that emotional connection -- which we totally understand. We've had books like that too, and it's not that they're bad, just that they don't *move* you.

    Well, we still want to check out The Night Circus (b/c really, with all the hype, how could we not?) but we're glad to know that if it doesn't make us dance around in circles, we're not the only ones. ;)

  2. It was a fantastic book, it just went a little over my head, I think. Best advice I can give, is write down the dates of important events. Many issues in the book revolve around timing and without a sense of the full timeline (since the dates jump around with big gaps)you can get easily confused.

    Thank you for paying extra attention to my review and for commenting. :)

  3. I'm in love with the feel, The characters even the minor ones. There's a sense of familiarity that grows as you read and it's really a great love story that takes it beyond the cliche of forbidden love. There's much more to it than just the two characters. narration flows like a story you'd hear sitting by a fire. It's... enchanting. I absolutely loved it . I say read it. Read it. Read it, read it.


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