The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: September 13th, 2011
Pages: 512
Song I Played While Reading: I Follow You by Lykke Li
Rating: 4 stars

The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, hone yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazement. 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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Amidst the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leave the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 

Wowza. This was quite the unexpected ride. First of all, this isn't YA. I thought it was, but realized when I had the actual copy in my hand that it wasn't. Which always throws me off because I wonder who the poor sap was that first started praising this as YA. It's pretty evident from the story that it's not.
The next big surprise for me was the direction the story went. It was told from multiple pov's (which I LOVE), and spanned decades, jumping back and fourth through time, which definitely got a little confusing at times. Once I got comfortable with the characters it was easier to remember which person was from each time period, but it definitely takes some adjusting. But like I've said before, I love multiple narration because you see so many different sides to the story. It's not just about these two magicians who are in love; its about every single person in and around that circus. It's about the people who first came up with the idea, and how they progress throughout the story. Every single person plays such a key role, and Morgenstern manages to weave it all together fabulously. I won't lie, it gets a little confusing. But those moments are few.
The characteres were so lively that I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if they had jumped out of the pages. Each had their own personality and gift but all worked together seamlessly, contributing to the circus and the story in more ways then one. We see some of them grow up and it was fascinating to see how the circus changed their life. It was such a special way of living, and I was envious at times. How cool would it be to grow up in a place like that?!
The circus, just like the characters, was marvelous and exploded in my head. It was engrossing and fascinating and absolutely breathtaking, even if I couldn't picture some of the things Morgenstern described. That's always been a weakness of mine, so that has absolutely nothing to do with her writing, which was phenomenal. P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L.
One thing I couldn't help but notice was that the relationship between Marco and Celia felt a little forced at times. And I think this is because so much time passes between chapters (sometimes one will be in 1894, and the next will jump to 1895) that we miss the progression of the relationship. I know they don't see each other a lot either, but we don't see the mental progression. The constant thoughts of them, of wondering what they're doing and seeing and thinking right now. It just felt like one moment they had just talked to each other, had maybe 3 or 4 scenes together after that, and then Marco was confessing his love to her (which was years later). It felt like only weeks, when in reality it was years. So that was a little hard to put together in my head and connect. But even though it felt a little rushed, the scenes they shared were flawless. They were honest with each other, never skirting around something, and their flirting was sweet and witty.
In all, this was a stunning novel that is magic in its purest form. I highly recommend it, even if this doesn't seem like your type of story.

"Prospero the Enchanter's immediate reaction upon meeting his daughter is a simple declaration of: "Well, fuck."

"The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones."

"There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someones soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words."


  1. I loved this book! It was a bit slow paced but I adored it! One of my favourite books of all time! I really really REALLY want to visit the circus! You're right, P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L is the only word to describe her beautiful writing! Also, I need that beautiful clock which was designed on my wall ASAP! Happy Reading :D

    1. Seriously her writing had me drooling. She could have been writing about a sack of potatoes and it would have been magical. I totally agree! The pace was a little slow and not what I expected because the summary doesn't adequately describe the story, but I still loved it. I wish we could have gotten a little epilogue a couples years after the story ended, I would have loved to have seen how it was doing.