Book Review: The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
ISBN: 9780385534635
Pages: 400
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

Celia and Marco are just children when they are bound to one another, forced to compete and push the limits of their magical abilities and knowledge until one is triumphant.  Years later, they discover the setting: the Night Circus, a magical circus that only operates at night.  It vanishes overnight, only to reappear halfway across the world the next day.  As Celia and Marco compete without knowledge of how to win, or even of each other, their magic may not be strong enough to hold their worlds together.

Review:

The Night Circus is an absolutely breathtaking novel that is as surprising as it is beautiful.  Morgenstern’s writing is lush, but never self-indulgent; while her writing is gorgeous, she doesn’t allow her prose to overshadow the story she is trying to tell.  As a result, the reader is presented with a richly imagined world that is vividly described and well defined.  In between the chapters advancing the story and characters, there are chapters focusing on the experience a visitor might have at the Night Circus.  It was a wonderful way to break up the story, as well as immerse the reader in the setting.  When I closed my eyes, I could smell the food and taste the anticipation in the air; this novel is really a feast for the senses.

There is an air of mystery surrounding The Night Circus.  From the beginning, Celia and Marco each know that they are bound in competition, though the identity of their opponent remains hidden.  The circus is the setting for the competition.  Because these two characters know no more about their situations than the reader does, it creates a great atmosphere as Celia and Marco embark on their competition.  It’s clear there is more going on than meets the eye, but what is that something?

Morgenstern allows her characters their own personalities and lives, and it makes for a wonderful reading experience.  Each character has their own agenda, their private thoughts and emotions, and they aren’t always clear.  The author weaves the threads of all of the characters magically, bringing them together but ensuring that the reader is never fully aware of everything that is happening within the Night Circus.  It adds an extra layer of depth to the novel, a delicious complexity that readers will enjoy being immersed in.

I wouldn’t say The Night Circus is a slow novel because it never lost my interest, nor did I ever feel like it needed to move faster.  However, readers should not expect a quick and easy read with this book.  As I’ve said, it’s a complex novel, and its beauty only becomes apparent if you take your time with it.  The Night Circus is a book to be experienced, rather than merely read.

The Night Circus will stay with me for a long time to come.  Its beauty and the wonder it creates in the reader are spellbinding and I cannot say enough positive things about the sheer joy of reading it.  This is a book that will transport you through time, to a magical place, and will leave you completely enchanted and wanting more.

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Comments

  1. Think I’d like to read this book, j;ust for the experiences you describe.

  2. Think I’d like to read this book, j;ust for the experiences you describe.

  3. I can’t wait to receive my copy of this one. It has been driving my crazy wanting to read it. Great review!

  4. I can’t wait to receive my copy of this one. It has been driving my crazy wanting to read it. Great review!

  5. I loved this book and am thoroughly enjoying reading reactions from others. It’s going to be one of my top books of the year. I can hardly wait to get the audio version to re-read via Jim Dale. Such an elegant story and writing style. So glad you liked it as much as I did.

  6. I loved this book and am thoroughly enjoying reading reactions from others. It’s going to be one of my top books of the year. I can hardly wait to get the audio version to re-read via Jim Dale. Such an elegant story and writing style. So glad you liked it as much as I did.

  7. I am happy to see you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I just reviewed it today, too. :)

  8. I am happy to see you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I just reviewed it today, too. :)

  9. I read and loved this book too, and have had some very intensive back and forth conversations with Aarti about it. We felt a little differently about the book, so the conversations have been rather interesting. I love the way you describe this book, and have to agree that it’s not a read that you can blow through. The characters were very complex, and the imagery was just something else. It was probably one of the most exciting reads of the year so far for me. Very powerful and fantastic review, by the way!

  10. I read and loved this book too, and have had some very intensive back and forth conversations with Aarti about it. We felt a little differently about the book, so the conversations have been rather interesting. I love the way you describe this book, and have to agree that it’s not a read that you can blow through. The characters were very complex, and the imagery was just something else. It was probably one of the most exciting reads of the year so far for me. Very powerful and fantastic review, by the way!

  11. Argh! OMG! Well, damn you anyway, because I am now starting to read Dominance, thanks to you. Heather just gave me The Night Circus, so that will be up next! Now stop it. Review some bad books for a week or two!

  12. Argh! OMG! Well, damn you anyway, because I am now starting to read Dominance, thanks to you. Heather just gave me The Night Circus, so that will be up next! Now stop it. Review some bad books for a week or two!

  13. You have sealed the deal, I need to read this one. Sounds like the execution of it was done perfectly.

  14. You have sealed the deal, I need to read this one. Sounds like the execution of it was done perfectly.

  15. I have a feeling this book is going to be huge!

  16. I have a feeling this book is going to be huge!

  17. This one sounds incredible – I can’t wait to read it! Plus, one of the main characters and I share a name… what could be better? *grin*

    Thank you for sharing your review!

  18. This one sounds incredible – I can’t wait to read it! Plus, one of the main characters and I share a name… what could be better? *grin*

    Thank you for sharing your review!

  19. You have managed to convince me that I need to read this book. It arrived in our store today. I read the first two chapters. Writing is very good. Story is compelling. Thanks.

  20. You have managed to convince me that I need to read this book. It arrived in our store today. I read the first two chapters. Writing is very good. Story is compelling. Thanks.

  21. I’d love to read this. Thanks for a wonderful review.

  22. I’d love to read this. Thanks for a wonderful review.

  23. I am planning on taking this one with me on vacation in two weeks so I am thrilled to see it’s so awesome!

  24. I am planning on taking this one with me on vacation in two weeks so I am thrilled to see it’s so awesome!

  25. I am planning on taking this one with me on vacation in two weeks so I am thrilled to see it’s so awesome!

  26. I am planning on taking this one with me on vacation in two weeks so I am thrilled to see it’s so awesome!

  27. I’m reading this one next and the slew of glowing reviews this week has me even more excited. So glad to see you loved this one!

  28. I’m reading this one next and the slew of glowing reviews this week has me even more excited. So glad to see you loved this one!

  29. I have heard nothing but great things about this book. Putting it on my TBR list now!

  30. I have heard nothing but great things about this book. Putting it on my TBR list now!

  31. I’m intrigued by your description of the book as complex. I can’t wait to find out for myself!

  32. I’m intrigued by your description of the book as complex. I can’t wait to find out for myself!

  33. Wow, what a wonderful review. I have just gotten a copy of NC. Thank you for such an eloquent review. :)

  34. Wow, what a wonderful review. I have just gotten a copy of NC. Thank you for such an eloquent review. :)

  35. I have this book but I keep picking it up and putting it back. I don’t know what is keeping me from reading it. It sounds wonderful

  36. I have this book but I keep picking it up and putting it back. I don’t know what is keeping me from reading it. It sounds wonderful

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