Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday (September 1, 2011)
Source: My Choice; Library

From GoodReads:

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, 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 per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

It is my understanding that The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is not intentionally a YA book. However, it has tremendous crossover appeal. The main characters are young for a good portion of the book and there's nothing in the content or language that can't be found in the YA market, so for the purposes of this blog, I'm calling it YA. :D

The Night Circus is the kind of book that left me breathless. It's as mesmerizing and alluring as the circus it describes. The fantastical atmosphere is evident from the very first page and remains constant throughout. The prose itself is enchanting. There is a very distinct and magical feel to the writing that I couldn't help but be sucked in by. Even if the story was awful, I'd be completely taken in by the writing itself.

But the story isn't awful. It's incredible.

The richness of the story, characters, and plot is not matched by many books. I had the sense that each character has a full background and history, even the smaller ones. For many of these characters, we eventually learn the history, but not for all. There are truly no small characters in this story as each one leaves his or her own impression.

The story is exceptionally complex, particularly because of the world involved. The magic of this world isn't outright explained, but through the actions of the characters, we get a sense of it and how it works. I love when an author is able to convey a concept or situation without outright explaining it. Morgenstern is a genius at this. I never felt lost or confused, even though many aspects of the story weren't completely expressed to the reader. Morgenstern expressed the necessary information while retaining a mystical feel for the rest.

I honestly don't know what else to say about The Night Circus other than to tell you to go buy it. One of my favorite books of the year. I will read anything else Morgenstern ever writes.

Final thoughts:  Buy it. Now.


  1. I loved this book as well. It took a while for it to grow on me. I wish I could delve into the world a little more.

    At her book signing Morgenstern said she is working on what she calles a Film Noir Alice in Wonderland. Now I have to stalk her blog for an update.

  2. That sounds so cool! I'm glad you liked this one.