Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

From the back of the book: 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 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. 

Simply put, The Night Circus grabbed onto me and took me to another time and place. While I was reading it, this world dropped away, and I felt like I was truly and completely somewhere else. This doesn't happen to me with every book that I read, but when it does happen (like with Outlander and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children), those books tend to be my favorites, and The Night Circus is no exception. But interestingly enough, while it transported me to a different place entirely, I also found myself remembering teenage nights in my own life when this little carnival would come to the local mall's parking lot.  We never knew when it was coming or how long it would stay--it was just there, and we'd drop everything to go because once the night became so dark and the lights so bright, it seemed absolutely magical. Like anything was possible. How much more magical then, would the Night Circus be?! I found myself desperately wishing that Le Cirque des Rêves was real, because I could absolutely picture myself there. I wanted to visit, and I still do.

Admittedly, the first fifty pages or so are a bit of a slow start--probably due to the fact that all the stellar reviews give the novel a lot to live up to, and it doesn't start off with much of a bang as you might imagine. But don't give up, because those first fifty pages or so set the stage for all that's to come. And there is a lot to come. 

Told in an alternating narrative, The Night Circus spends just the right amount of time with each character, allowing you to become invested in both. It's a romance novel, yes, but a slow burning one that felt to me like it drove the storyline rather than being the storyline. 

Now, I know you may be thinking 'I've already read the circus-romance book', but I can confidently say that The Night Circus is absolutely nothing like the other famed circus-romance book you may be thinking of. The best way that I could describe it that one is pizza and the other is pasta carbonatta--they have some of the same ingredients, but they somehow don't end up tasting much like each other at all. And both are delicious in their own right. {Leave it to the pregnant lady to work a pasta reference into a book review}. Overall?

Disclosure Statement: I checked out The Night Circus from the library. I was not compensated for my review in any way. As always, the review is my own opinion, because I couldn't lie about a book even if I wanted to.


  1. I loved this book! The writing was so beautiful and whimsical and perfect for the story!

  2. I read this a couple of months ago and it is still one of my favorite reads. I was disappointed it ended.

  3. I loved this book! I think it would make such a great movie. I'd be really interested to see how they'd do the clock.


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