Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review -- The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

Hardcover387 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Doubleday

Goodreads Summary -- 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.
Before I read this book, these were two facts I attributed to myself 1) I preferred young adult books and 2) I didn't like the circus. Turns out I don't know myself very well because now 1) I love adult books (if a book about the circus can really be considered as for adults) and 2) I love the circus (at least I love Erin Morgenstern's beautiful portrayal of one). This book was so, so, so AMAZING!

I first discovered The Night Circus this past Christmas when it was found on countless Favorite Books of 2011 lists. The praise for this book sparked my interest. Thus, I purchased a copy. And for three months, it sat on my shelf collecting dust. Then last week, in search of something to read, I picked it up and began reading it. It didn't take long for this whimsical book of love, magic, devotion and quirky characters to kidnap me into their world.

Like the patrons who step foot into Le Cirque des Rêves, it is a peculiar world that you can't quite make sense of but leaves you breathless and longing to come back night after night -- or -- page after page.

The writing in this book is incredible. Yes, I love young adult books, but they tend to read the same way. This book is written in third person present tense, and I found the effect very alluring. The focus is spread out so we are given the full picture of the story instead of simply one characters POV. This lead to many moments where I literally gasped. The circus itself is complex and layered, as are the characters within and surrounding it.

Plus, the descriptions are so incredibly palpable! And for this book, the visual is everything. I could smell the caramel, feel the rain, hear the laughter and see the white flame of the bonfire. They brought me to the circus, so much so that when I was not reading, I felt like I had one foot still in that mystifying world. My mind whizzed with longing to return to it.

For people who don't often read adult fiction, like myself, this book is a great stepping stone. It is just childish enough that it captivates the reader but breathes a desire to explore and expand upon reading choices. This book is why I read. I read to fall deeply into a world created by the mere use of words. A world just believable enough that you are sure it doesn't exist but yet you maintain a lingering hope that maybe, just maybe, it does.



  1. I want it! Sounds so good. I`m jealous that you get to live in a world where Anglophone book stores exist.

  2. Again, excellent review. You're a good reviewer. I can tell you like books that make you feel. But you also see the beauty in word. Well done.


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