The book review appears without warning.
Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Description from Goodreads:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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.
As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.
But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.
Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.
What I Thought:
That’s basically the only word to describe this wonderful book.
And actually now that I’ve written that, I want to pull back a bit. It was a great read. Really fascinating premise and flowery prose. But there were also several flaws, such as an extraordinarily slow plot and an underwhelming climax. I loved it and really enjoyed reading it, but it’s definitely not perfect.
The characters were all pretty interesting, but the real star of the show, so to speak, is the circus itself. Circuses are already so fascinating and mysterious, but a circus that is secretly magical? Marvelous.
As far as the protagonists are concerned, I’m usually pretty opposed to insta-love, but in this book it fit perfectly. How could they not fall instantly in love with the person they are bound to? I know their chemistry was pretty corny but I secretly loved it.
There were quite a few main characters to remember but once I got the hang of them I was attached to every one! My favourite had to be Herr Thiessen, the clock maker. He was written wonderfully.
Too often authors can get bogged down in describing things, but Morgenstern does so beautifully. With so many of the acts she wrote about it felt like I was actually experiencing it rather than reading it.
The time period jumping was quite jarring. I often had to re-check the beginning of the chapter to figure out what year it was and who I was supposed to be reading about. I understand why Morgenstern wrote it the way she did, but I just wish it had been clearer.
All in all The Night Circus was a compelling and fantastical read. I recommend it!
Erin Morgenstern has an awesome FAQ section on her website, and there’s talk of a movie! (Possibly!) (Maybe!)
Also I had a little too much fun taking this picture for @booksinthewild
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