Aug 23, 2012


Review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Some of you already know what's coming. If you've been paying attention, you would know a little bit about why I chose this book already. If not, you can read more about it here, where I explain how even a book that doesn't fit your normal tastes can still be just as enjoyable as the ones that do. And trust me, this one is definitely worth the risk.

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 RĂªves, 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.

At a very young age, you are thrust into a game you know nothing about. You are tied for life to a person you've never met and trained by a man you hardly even know, even though most of the world calls him your father. The rules are a mystery, and the stage is even more so, until one day, you're given the news:

The game has begun.

Yet the world still remains a mystery. You know not the identity of your opponent, and you feel as clueless as the awestruck patrons wandering around the circus thinking this nocturnal wonder a dream. All you've been given is two simple rules: do not interfere with your opponent, and above all else....


I was very cautious beginning this book. The concept seemed amazing and it was obviously beautifully written, but everything just looked so.... flat.

I'm a comedy kind of girl. I love to laugh when I read, no matter the stares I get when I break out into hysterical fits while combing through a book. I grew up on Shel Silverstein, what else can you expect?

But I decided to give this book a chance anyways, and I have to say I didn't regret it once.

There is a beautiful and unique world crafted into this novel while the readers discover how the rules work as the characters do. Nothing ever barges in too suddenly, and the whole story seems dreamlike.

I love how the author interlaced different time periods throughout the chapters, only to have them meet at the end. At first I thought it would just be too confusing, and it wasn't until the last few chapters that I realized what was going on. I saw how two seemingly separate story lines slowly began to overlap until they reached the same, dramatic end.

For a very mellow book, I thought the ending was very exciting. There wasn't some huge showdown like I'm normally used to, but the whole build up with the explosion and the foreshadowing really ramped it up towards the end.

The only real complaint that I had was that I was more interested in the game than the actual characters. I never really got into them and how they worked as human beings; they just seemed like multiple chess pieces being moved around on the board while the circus took center stage. Except for Widget and Poppet, I loved those two.

This book was able to use a lot of very classic elements throughout, but it still seemed extremely original to me. There were scenes alluding to Shakespeare's Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, as well as a bit of James and the Giant Peach at the end there.

I thought it made the novel all the more interesting. I smiled when I saw those familiar parts, and really enjoyed myself, even though I had expected to be horribly disappointed. I chose this book on an impulse, drawn in by the mesmerizing cover and captivating summary. I had expected to like it mainly for the idea behind the story, but I had never expected to fall in love with it so much.

 Rating: 5 stars

For When Words Aren't Enough

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