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Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is one of those books where I can totally understand the people who give it five star ratings on Goodreads and the people who give it two star ratings.  So weird when that happens.  For me, the prose and setting and magic swept me in and kept me entranced- I give that part of the book five enthusiastic stars.  But then there's the plot, which left some key questions unanswered- I give that part of the book only two or three stars.

Les Cirque des Reves arrives in towns without any warning.  No advance man, no advertising posters.  In fact, most people aren't even sure how it arrives- no one sees or hears a train pull into town.  (The book is set at the turn of the twentieth century; no airplanes or tour buses.)  Once it arrives, it only opens at night.  By the light of an elaborate bonfire, guests can explore the many black and white-striped tents.  They're full of the circus usuals, like acrobats and tarot card readers, plus the fantastic, such as a tent full of dreams.  At the heart of it all is a pair of magicians who have been pitted against each other since childhood.

The Night Circus is beautifully written.  I never wanted to put it down.  At times the prose seemed almost lyrical.  Erin Morgenstern truly brings the night circus to life in your imagination as you read.  I could smell the sawdust and hear the crowd and see the flames of the bonfire... I swear my fingers felt caramel corn-sticky at times!  I'll admit that I'm predisposed to enjoying circus books, but this one was better than most.  I also loved the setting.  Because it's set at the turn of the century, we get to picture all the beautiful gowns on the female characters and nice suits with top hats on the guys.  The book takes place over the course of many years, but many of the pivotal scenes are set in fall, my favorite time of year.  The leaves are changing and the winds are blowing and there's a little crisp to the air... to me, fall is the most magical season, so it makes sense to place a magical book in the fall!

I would consider knocking a star or two off of my rating, though, for the plot.  I got very frustrated with trying to understand the game that the two main characters are playing.  They're supposed to be in a competition, but they're both working on the circus?  What are the rules?  Are there any rules?  How is a winner decided?  Don't get me wrong- I loved reading about the circus, the result of their competition!  Morgenstern could've skipped the whole competition thing and just done a romance and it would've been fine.

Overall, the writing and the circus make this a book I heartily recommend!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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1 Person left their mark:

  1. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews from my friends for this one. Some loved it and others were much less enthused. I think it sounds really good so I will probably read it either way. lol! Great review!