The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern



“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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.”


Published in 2012, I am a little late reading this highly recommended and raved about magical fantasy. Characters in The Night Circus frequently use the word complicated, and that is precisely how I would describe my feelings.

Firstly, and it must be said, the writing style of Erin Morgenstern is perhaps the most unique I have read in a long while. Sophisticated, yet not snobbish and excuse my nonliterary terminology but also frank and direct. The poetic nature comes from the story itself, not the writing style. Please don’t mistake my elementary depiction for an underwhelming account. The writing is absolutely fantastic and magical itself.

I won’t be going into any great detail of the story itself, in my opinion it is one that too much information can ruin. Instead I will detail my likes and dislikes, and perhaps have an unpopular opinion. I didn’t love this book. I liked it, a lot, and cannot express the uniqueness that is The Night Circus as a whole. However, I am torn between raving and ranting. I’m wavering only because I don’t think my personal experience with this book reflects the overwhelming majority, deservingly so. Complicated right?

I loved the writing style, completely unique and in a catergory of its own. The magic system is one of vintage charm and seemingly obtainable for all. The circus itself is awe-inspiring and completely enchanting. I have read that The Night Circus will be made for the big screen and I cannot wait to see how it’s done. It certainly has the potential to be a visual masterpiece. I also really liked how each character played important roles, while some more important than others, none seem to be secondary to another. Everyone has a role to play.

The synopsis gives the impression that this is a love story, however it is not quite as important as the blurb leads on. This was a disappointment. There is a love story, and quite important to the story, however it takes what seems like forever to get to it, and once we’re finally given something to hold onto, the story comes to an end. For something as important as the love story is to the book, it certainly didn’t take the front seat in the book as a whole. The entire book took me forever to read, as it is in my opinion very slow going. There are no dramatic climaxes. The entire story was a steady flow, no page turner plot lines. The Night Circus was mysterious and ended in exactly that way. I somewhat hoped for an ending that was more momentous than the read thus far, however it ended vaguely.

I liked The Night Circus, but I didn’t love it. Great story, fantastic writing and completely unique as a whole. Also slow and anticlimactic. Would I re-read? Probably no. But I will watch the movie with great excitement!



2 thoughts on “The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern”

  1. I completely agree with your overall review. “Complicated” is an apt description of feelings for me as well. I had heard so much about this book, and the imagery is absolutely stunning. But I never felt a rush of emotions for and with any of the characters. I honestly never managed to get through the book in its entirety. I do hope to finish it, but it’s a struggle to think of rereading so I can remember where I stopped. I’m in the same position that I may be in the minority of opinions on The Night Circus. And I really appreciate reading your own honest thoughts which match my own here!

    1. I think it will make a fabulous movie, visually! I was just left underwhelmed by the lack of highs and lows. I’m glad I’m not alone on this opinion! Happy New Year!

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