Review Time: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book blew my mind. Those five words sum up my feelings towards The Night Circus (Random House) by Erin Morgenstern so perfectly that I could just leave my review at that. However, I don't think that would be very satisfying for those reading my blog so I'll do my best to add a few more thoughts.When I first heard of this book I was so excited, it sounded absolutely magical and it was getting all kinds of crazy good reviews. Then, two of my friends read it, and both stated that it was over hyped and didn't live up to their expectations. I began to worry that I wasn't going to enjoy it either; we have similar reading tastes so it was a good possibility. I should never have worried though because I fell head over heels in love with this book.

The Night Circus tells the story of Le Cirque des Rêves, a mysterious traveling circus that is only open at night. It is full of magical wonderment, unlike any circus that has ever been seen before, and continually dazzles the audience night after night. The circus is really a front for an intense competition between two young magicians, Marco and Celia, who have been pitted against one another by their rivaling instructors. As the years go by, and the game becomes more and more imaginative and complex, Celia and Marco find that they are falling in love with one another. Their fate, and the fate of all who love the circus and call it home, becomes entangled in the deadly duel of magic that must be played out till its inevitable end.

For me, the best part of this book is the beautifully detailed writing. Morgenstern evokes the magic of the circus so perfectly that I felt I could see, smell, hear, taste all the delights of Le Cirque des Rêves myself. The best word I can think of to describe the writing is seductive, every time I was reading I felt entirely swept into the world of the circus. I longed to experience what I was reading for myself; the writing is so visceral that I felt so close to the action of the story and yet, as it is a book and not real, so very far away. I was jealous of the characters in the story because they got to experience this truly hypnotic circus. It reminded me of my jealousy towards the characters in Harry Potter because they got to attend Hogwarts. 

There is an interesting cast of characters, an odd collection of delightfully eccentric individuals brought together through the unique magic of the circus. None of the characters clearly claims the role of the protagonist, unfortunately creating a slight issue when it comes to character development that I think might turn some readers off. I personally wasn't bothered by this as Morgenstern evokes such a detailed world that I let my imagination fill in the rest. I also felt that the true protagonist of the story was the circus itself.

The Night Circus is not an action-packed, page-turner written to be devoured in a few short sittings. It is a luxurious, meticulous read; one that the reader must fully submerge themselves into in order to get the true experience. Utterly fabulous!


  • Jennifer | 31 March 2012 at 08:35

    Hi Kate, I have seen this book in the media and on book shelves and have been curious about it. The artwork on the cover caught my eye and I think that it was really well done. I like your last full sentence. It is a beautifully written descriptive of The Night Circus and I think that I may pick up a copy of the book the next time I happen upon it.

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library) | 8 April 2012 at 13:34

    I've been wanting to read this ever since Maggie Stiefvater reviewed it months ago. I even own a copy, but the number of pages can be quite intimidating when you're constantly trying to keep up with your review copies. But you make it sound so irresistible. I'm a sucker for immersive worlds. I don't think I'll be able to resist for much longer.

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