Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
Published January 1, 2011

Bite-sized Review
This book was just amazing. I loved it. I want to read it again. It was so utterly rich with detail and atmosphere, sometimes it honestly did feel more real than my apartment.

King-sized Review
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
The Night Circus is simply fantastic. Every aspect of the book is carefully contrived to fit the circus. The description is layered and brilliant, the characters are deep and alive, the plot is complex and subtle. It is the sort of book that looks rather plain at first blush, but then, when you glance away, seeps into your thoughts and your dreams.

The Night Circus is a rather difficult story to describe. It's about a boy and a girl, and a contest, and mostly about a circus. It's a little like The Prestige and a little like The Scorpio Races, but mostly it is like itself. This is not the sort of book that will be for everyone. It has a rather slow pace and takes longer to read than you might expect at 387 pages. There isn't a great deal of action and the voice of the story is unusual, third-person present omniscient, which basically means that you're watching rather than being the characters. In my opinion, everything about this story was perfect for this story. Anywhere else, I would probably hate it, but Morgenstern does such a wonderful job creating the atmosphere in this book that it almost seems as though there is no other way to do it.

The characters in this book were superb. Despite the odd style, I felt more connected to even the minor characters than I have to some first-person narrators. The ways they acted and interacted felt entirely real and believable. Marco and Celia especially had me biting my nails through half the book, and some of the characters had me guessing up till the very end.

If you like the styles of Guy Gavriel Kay, Maggie Stiefvater, and Audrey Niffenegger; if you like slow, subtle plots and games within games; if you like the gradual building of suspense and tension, then this is the book for you. I thought it was absolutely incredible. If you're not sure, give it a try – pretty soon you'll either love it or hate it. I love it.

You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more alive within the confines of the circus.

You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is a dream.

Quality: Outstanding
Enjoyability: Outstanding

The Night Circus is similar to:
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


  1. Nice review. I'm biased, perhaps, because this was my favorite 2011 book. And you're right, it's hard to describe this book.


  2. I LOVED Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races! This one has been getting such good ratings and reviews - I really REALLY want to read it. Nice and thoughtful review! :)


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