Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Dec
22
8 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: 5 stars, Historical

Book: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday
Release date: September 13, 2011
Source: Borrowed from local library, then bought

Summary: (from Goodreads) 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 underwayâ??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 loveâ??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.

First impressions: Opening a debut novel in 2nd person narrative is ballsy. But, oh man, did it work in this case. By introducing the reader to the wonder that is this night circus through gorgeous prose and the immediacy of the perspective, we are hooked from the first sentence. The circus arrives without warning.

Lasting impressions: I relished this book in a way that rarely happens for me – slowly. For the week I spent reading it, I rarely thought of anything else, yet I prolonged the reading experience in order to get the most out of it. This is a book that inspires reflection in all of the best ways, and rewards you for taking the time to read every word carefully. The story builds slowly, but purposefully, until the exciting climax threatens to turn the entire world of these characters upside down. It’s a beautiful journey to witness.

Conflicting impressions: I confess that I read all of the negative reviews of this book first. Surely no book could live up to the kind of magical hype this book has had heaped upon it, right? So I read the most blistering, scathing reviews, preparing myself for a slow, boring, overly dense novel with wooden characters and little action. And you know what I got? Subtle characters deftly written by a master puppeteer. Erin Morgenstern fills the pages with lush details, yes, but they all serve to inform us about the characters and the setting. I understood this world so well that I wanted to live in it for as long as possible, which is why I took so damn long to finish it. And why I bought a copy for my shelf the day before I returned my library book. I didn’t want a single day to go by without having this book in my possession.

Overall impressions: This book is magical, but not because it contains magic. This is not Harry Potter. Our young protagonists learn magic through natural ability and frustrating lessons by their parental figures – no straightforward schoolteachers to be found. They learn through trial and error, cruelty, and their own perseverance and curiosity.

Celia and Marco do not spend a lot of time in each other’s company, and as readers we are often much more knowledgeable than our characters. For me, this made the plot that much more enjoyable, as I had an inkling of where the story was going, but no idea how it was going to get there. As the story unfolded, I was more than willing to go along for the ride. This is a novel you either succumb to completely, or resign yourself to frustration. I think by the end of the first few chapters any reader will be able to tell if this is the book for him/her.

The Night Circus has rich period details, lots of colorful characters, and more than a handful of intrigue. This was not only one of my favorite books of the year, but one of my favorite books, period. If you’re looking to be entertained by something truly fresh and surprising, you must get your hands on this one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system



Tags: , , ,



Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

8 Responses to “Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern”

  1. Sabrina says:

    I didn't give much attention to the Night Circus before but now I'm so excited to read it! I love your review!

  2. rockyriverteenlibrarian says:

    Great review of an thoroughly unique and engaging book. Funny you mention Harry Potter-Jim Dale narrates the audiobook of the Night Circus. Every time I got in my car I had to remind myself I was not listening to a Harry Potter book!

  3. Melissa (Books and Things) says:

    I have been salivating for this book since it came out. Oh and I need to get a bucket now! (sorry for the visual)

    It sounds like a book for me. I think I could really get into a book like that. Intrigue and great characters? Oh yea… I'm there!

  4. Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) says:

    I have kept putting this book off because of a few iffy reviews, but yours has me excited for it all over again. I will definitely need to get my grubby hands on it soon!

  5. Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic says:

    I had put this away because I was afraid of the hype and confused by the reviews at the same time. So glad for your helpful review! I'm going to read this soon 🙂

  6. Smash Attack says:

    Fantastic review! I too relished in the beauty of this book. It took me a month to read, as I would read only a few chapters a night. I was incredibly blow away but all the detail, imagination and magic that flow through this story. It is truly an experience!

  7. Colin Matthew (TheBookPirate.com) says:

    I was thinking about picking this book up on audiobook for a roadtrip. I may have to do that now.

  8. Could not put this down. well written drew me in page one.All the characters in this imaginative and strange book were so well written you feel you know them.


Search

About Me

A lover of words and sparkly things.

A fan of historical, dystopian, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, mystery, steampunk, and young adult fiction, as well as any book that thinks smartly and imaginatively.

Email me at loganeturnerblog at gmail dot com.

Connect with me

RSS Twitter
Goodreads Email

Subscribe and Follow

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow me with Bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

Grab My Button

Logan E. Turner

Categories

Archives

Blog Friends

On a Book BenderBooks and ThingsBuried in BooksThe Geeky Blogger's Book BlogGone with the WordsJust Another StoryMidnyte ReaderRuby's ReadsSmall ReviewSupernatural Snark

Currently Reading

  • The Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1) by S.J. Kincaid
    The Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1)
  • The Bone Labyrinth (Sigma Force, #11) by James Rollins
    The Bone Labyrinth (Sigma Force, #11)