Book Review : The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I read this book with Molly’s book club. This book had been on my TBR for a while as I always heard great things about this story and the synopsis alone was something that caught my interest. So thank you Molly for making this the book of the month. 

  • Title :  The Night Circus
  • Author : Erin Morgenstern 
  • Genre :  Fiction , Fantasy
  • Pages :  516
  • Own/Borrowed/ARC : Borrowed from my local library
  • GoodReads Link / Synopsis : 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. 

    Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart. 

The writing. The descriptions of the magic within the circus was beautiful and enchanting. I loved reading about the tents in this circus along with small tiny inserts that made it feel like you were actually walking through the circus yourself. It made me a bit sad that I could not attend this circus and witness these feats myself.

The characters, mostly the “secondary” characters were so interesting to me, they all had different backgrounds and things that made them special and seeing their different perspectives was a nice touch. The multiple views helped show what this circus meant to certain people and how much someone did or did not know about everything that was happening.

The set up in the first act of this book didn’t seem to make sense but as soon as the act is over you realize what’s happening. It’s like watching the domino’s being set up before someone knocks them all over.

**Some slight spoilers

Lets start with the timeline. The story is nonlinear and I could understand that it was done to continue the ambiance/mysticism of the circus and the concept of time being a tricky thing (which is stated at the end of the story), it still made things confusing. I had to often turn back to see what year the chapter was taking place in.

The main characters were flat. I found Celia and Marcos flat, their only distinctive thing they had was that they could wield magic. Marcos was so flat that I found it hard to believe that two women would be in love with him, he even strung along Isobel for the longest time even when he knew that he was in love with Celia, and Isobel frankly deserved better. Way better.

And then there’s the synopsis. “But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians.” There was no fierce competition. The two spent the entire time just trying to one up each other tent attractions which end of being love letters instead. There was no real competition, nor was this ‘game’ fully explained nor why either of the two had to die to have a winner.

The fact that I read this because I wanted to read about a competition between two dueling magicians, disappointed me when I found out that the “fierce competition” was not there. The timeline had me flipping back and forth a lot to make sure that I was getting the story right but I enjoyed the book for the most part. The writing kept me wanting reading more about this circus and the magic within its tents.

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think of it? What did you like or dislike?

2 thoughts on “Book Review : The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. I actually haven’t read this, but I keep seeing the cover on Goodreads. Not sure if I’ll pick it up though because I honestly can’t stand flat main characters


  2. Interesting! I try to stay on the lookout for books with a beautiful style of writing, so I may pick this one up. The timeline issues might be a bit much though… We’ll see! 🙂


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