Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern 
387 pages
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: September 1, 2011 

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.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Oh The Night Circus. I wanted to love you. I really did! But honestly you disappointed me. *runs away from mob of angry blog readers* I'm sorry guys! I feel like the only person in the world who didn't absolutely adore this book. But I have my reasons for not really liking it and I'm about to dish them out to you guys. But first lets talk about what I did like about the book too sort of ease the blow I guess you might say.

The prose and writing in The Night Circus is absolutely divine. Its got this wonderfully ethereal quality to it that just rolls off the pages. Another element that I loved were the sections sprinkled throughout the book that were descriptions of the different tents in The Night Circus. Those were definitely my favorite parts of the novel.

And now we get down to the nitty gritty. While I felt that the prose of The Night Circus was absolutely gorgeous it quickly became obvious to me that the plot and characters were just lacking. The whole competition element of the book was really poorly developed and absolutely confusing. I mean what was even the point of the competition other than two feuding old men trying to prove something to each other? The characters weren't even competing so much as collaborating. And THIS was the main plot of the novel? *sigh* Not only that but the other main plot device was the romance between Marco and Celia and I hate to say this but I find myself comparing this romance to Bella and Edward. Its a forbidden romance between two characters that really didn't have much substance. In fact the only compelling element to these characters was their ability to do magic and even that wasn't very intriguing.

Another thing I felt was a flaw in the novel was the fact that there were just so many characters. Not only was it extremely hard to keep them all straight but the quantity of characters made it nearly impossible for the author to really develop them. The only characters I found to be mildly intriguing were Tsukiko the contortionist and the twins Poppet and Widget. Unfortunately these characters weren't featured nearly enough.

I know that a lot of other people loved The Night Circus but it just wasn't the book for me. It may have been beautifully written, but a book needs a lot more than just pretty words to make it great. I give The Night Circus 3 and a half ice cream cones.

Since so many other people loved this book I'm curious to hear why so if you've read The Night Circus tell me why you liked or disliked it in the comments below.

Julia :)


  1. Aww, I'm sorry to hear The Night Circus didn't live up to your expectations, especially since I so loved it. (It's probably my favorite book of all time.) But it happens to everyone at one point or another where you don't particularly enjoy a book that everyone else does.

  2. I didn't review this book on my blog but your thoughts were exactly how I felt. Completely agree that the writing was gorgeous but the plot and characters were just "meh."

  3. The writing was clever and addictive. It took me awhile to warm up to the characters, but once i did i could not put this book down! Excellent fantasy to escape every day life.


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