Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
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.
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.