Review: The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Night Circus, The

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 Reves,” 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 per-formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. – via Goodreads

Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are recommended that I check this one out. Obviously I had to oblige, and I am so glad that I did. Whatever you do, don’t think you know what is coming because of the description of the jacket of the book or via Goodreads. In fact, rather go in blind (I did, and reading the write up after the fact it is and isn’t the story, at the same time). Initially it took me a while to get into the writing style, it was a little disconcerting, very abrupt and blunt, which didn’t help at all towards flow. Also, the story is told in disjointed parts, which could frustrate you, but just go with it and it is immensely rewarding!

The story is not told in extreme lavish detail or anything, but it is rich when it comes to the circus. As a reader you know more solidly how the competition will end, though it is shrouded in mystery within the novel. The circus is described beautifully, all lacking in colour and all gives it a terribly dreamlike quality, which is amazing. Not only that, the magic starts to seep from the pages in a sense, and you are drawn in, making the discoveries alongside Celia and Marco. I wish I could adequately describe the feeling you get when reading this book… ethereal, enchanting, mesmerizing and dreamlike. You can see the circus, smell it, damn near taste it!

The relationship between Marco and Celia is painfully beautiful, drawing you in, feeding you with a passion and a mystery you would not have believed possible based purely on the writing style from the beginning, though their love story is not wholly unexpected. It is chaste and frustrating at times, but I think the circus and the love story that lingers throughout it is what totally owns your attention throughout the pages. The circus was the venue, of course, and the moves of the challenge the love letters between the magicians, and I thought it was really well done.

I do have an issue with how sometimes the book felt a little distant, due to how Morgenstern writes, but at the same time it is almost perfectly suited for the tale that is told. Initially when I started this book, I was not totally sold. I had some severe issues with some things (the writing style, the lack of explanations, no real character depth), but then later I was drawn in and I fell in love, and all the earlier parts start fitting in and working wonders. I was disappointed by the challenge, overall, and the book description doesn’t help much because it gears you up for some crazy epic showdown, and that is not quite how it goes.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Circus, and I am looking forward to revisiting it so that I can look at the smaller nuances, catch things that might be more beautiful the second time around. Thanks lady, I must say this was a spectacularly magical recommendation!