Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Really all you need to know about The Night Circus is that it's a magical book set around a traveling circus which sets the stage for two dueling magicians, Celia and Marco.  What Celia and Marco do not know is that only one of them can survive the duel.  As they compete, they begin to fall in love and collaborate in their magic, not knowing that only one can win.

I think the writing is what makes this book the success it is.  The author's style is beautiful and unique and the descriptions of the magic created by Celia and Marco are breathtaking.  I don't have a single criticism to make of the writing.  It's amazing and beautiful and deserves to be read.  I was concerned about the hype over the writing and the author's talent, but trust me, it wasn't just hype.  She deserves every wonderful thing that has been said about her talent.

Entertainment Value
I think it takes a certain type of person to be entertained by this book, despite the amazing writing.  If you like description, if you are into magic, if you want to be transported to another world, this is going to appeal to you.  However, if you are expecting lots of action, a fast-moving plot, or a focus on the story itself, you are going to be disappointed.  I completely enjoyed myself while reading this one, but that didn't make it a fast read.  Large portions of the book are devoted to descriptions of the circus, the characters, and the magic created by Celia and Marco.  I didn't feel like their relationship or even the plot of the duel were central focuses of the book.  Both of those things provided an excellent showcase for the author's talent in writing, but that was how I felt about both plot lines - they were vehicles for the writing, not the real reason for reading the book.  For me, that was fine.  It took me longer to read than usual, but I fully enjoyed it.  For those who aren't fans of description and want a plot-driven novel, this may not work as well.

I highly recommend the book, but with the caveat that the reader appreciate good writing for its own sake as well as the feeling of being completely transported to a magical world that comes with well-done description.  If you're just looking for a Harry Potter read-alike, I'm not sure this is the one.  I will also say that many of my book club girls who listened to this one on audio had a really hard time following it.  The narration jumps around over the course of many years, and I can see how it would be difficult to know which timeline you're in without the benefit of seeing the opening of each new chapter, where the year and place are listed.


  1. Your summary is probably the best one I've read in reviews for this book. I've bee a little scared to start reading this one because I've heard criticisms about it not really having a plot, but I definitely enjoy good writing and there are actually plenty of books without a real plot that I've enjoyed. I have this.. just need to get around to reading it one of these days!

  2. I read this one back in the fall and really enjoyed it!

  3. I didn't love this one as much as I expected to but I did enjoy how atmospheric it was.

  4. Hi, cool review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a very nice day! :)

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