The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Although lots of people may say that you should never judge a book by its cover, in the case of ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern, I think it’s acceptable to do so.  I love this book cover not just because it is very pretty but because I think it matches the story so well too.   Lots of adjectives like ‘dazzling’, ‘enchanting’, ‘spellbinding’, ‘imaginative’, ‘captivating’ and ‘magical’ have already been used in the critics reviews on the cover to describe this book.  I would like to add that it is also highly original especially for a fantasy story.  Set in the late nineteenth century, ‘The Night Circus’ tells the story of Le Cirque des Rêves which “appears without warning” in various locations. Two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, are trained to compete against each other in a mysterious battle by their respective protégés, Hector Bowen and Mr A. H–, but the rivals soon become lovers.  As you might imagine, this complicates things somewhat.

I think the last time I read a book about a circus was probably when I was about seven years old so I was intrigued by how a setting normally associated with children’s literature would be depicted in a ‘grown-up’ fantasy book.  This isn’t Harry Potter but it isn’t really like anything else either as the concept of the story is quite unique.  The writing is very assured for a debut novel and Morgenstern’s use of vignettes written in the second person interspersed through the main narrative really helps involve the reader as they are personally guided around the circus.  ‘The Night Circus’ is definitely a slow-burner of a story – it doesn’t contain a great deal of plot twists and is very descriptive.  The beauty is all in the atmosphere, the setting and the attention to intricate detail.  Sometimes I wondered if I might actually prefer ‘The Night Circus’ as a film because the scenes seemed more cinematic in style than literary but maybe this just demonstrates how Morgenstern’s writing can really bring the circus to life.

‘The Night Circus’ is pure, dreamy escapism.  It’s not really suitable for those who want an action-packed plot but it sure is pretty to look at though…


Filed under Books

11 responses to “The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. It is a pretty cover! I tend not to like “dreamy escapism,” but this book still sounds interesting, particularly the use of second person and the setting.


  2. sula1968

    Good review, loved the book


  3. I see a film being made out of this.


  4. I, too, thought it was a very visually evocative book, though I worry that special effects would be limiting. Right now (I stayed up late to finish the book last night), I prefer the images in my imagination. In general, I preferred the minor characters. I thought the exchanges between Marco and Celia were the weakest part of the book – perhaps because they seemed so predictable.


  5. I enjoyed this book. Morgenstern’s use of setting is its major strength. She created a fantastic vivid world and made it all believable. A great read by a debut author.


  6. lol, this is on my TBR just because of the cover. So is The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey which is on my nightstand to read soon.
    Circus intrigues me. We don’t really do the carny scene well in NZ. No big white tent with acrobatics or jumping through fire… not that’s what I expect from this book, but I’ve got to read it.


  7. Nice review. I have to say, going counter-cultural here, I had a very hard time with this book, maybe especially the audio version. see why in my review:


  8. jeff japp

    I really enjoyed this book and I enjoyed your thoughts on it. It was funny, glancing over your list of blog posts, that we seem to have similar reading interests. I may be checking your blog for suggestions on more books to read. Keep up the writing!!


  9. Absolutely agree that this would make a wonderful film – and the beauty of the writing is indeed in the wonderful, evocative and imaginative detail.
    This is a lovely blog – really well written reviews, however short, and we at allonymbooks will really enjoy following you.
    Thanks for the like on our blog this week – personally we hope you do get a Kindle or a Kindle app because given your enjoyment of historical novels and magical realism, you might like Evie Woolmore’s novels which are only available as e-books!


  10. Pingback: The Best of 2012 Survey | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  11. I agree that this book is very unique. The world that Morgenstern paints with words is absolute magic. Many people seem to think that her descriptions are repetitive and flowery but I found them lovely and immersive. Wonderful book.

    Liked by 1 person

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