Autumn Reads: Book Four {The Night Circus}

Sunday, December 30, 2012

{Note, I will be posting a few of these 2012 reviews a day as the year winds up. Need to get caught up for 2013!}

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a beautiful book. This, like A Discovery of Witches, is the book I wish I wrote. I loved every bit of this book - and it's so much more than it seems.

There is a circus that rolls into the fields at the outskirts of a town without any warning or prior notice given. It sets up, stays for a number of days, and rolls away with just as little warning. Everything in the circus - from the tents to the costumes to the foods - is in black and white. It is not a traditional circus. While it has acrobats and magicians and animals, that's about where the parallels end. The tents each house magical and wondrous acts of magic and awe. No visit is the same as the next. It is a unique experience full of amazement and breathtaking sights.

Behind the scenes, however, is another story entirely. There is a great dual underway between two amazing magicians who have been trained since birth by two fervent competitors. What the two competitors, Celia and Marco, do not know is that only one of them will survive the competition and be declared victor. However, neither of them knows the rules or the boundaries - all they know is the circus is their stage. The pair soon tumble head over heels in love and set off a string of events and consequences that are felt throughout those in connection with the circus - everything that they value and love are held in the balance of their competition. 

It's not all about Celie and Marco, though. There are so many other characters (15, to be exact) and story lines beside them that are just as amazing. There are the twins that are born as soon as the circus opens. There is Bailey, the boy who loves the circus more than anything. There is Frederick who makes the magical clock for the Circus's courtyard and starts the Reveures. There are just so many things going on but it all works so well

Besides all this, there is one major detail that you have to know. This is a book about a thing; the Cirque de Reves. The people in the book are important, but only as how they relate to the Circus. The Circus takes on so many amazing characteristics throughout the book that you feel like you're there and experiencing it first hand. The way that Morgenstern crafts every chapter, every character. It makes everything about this place feel like it's right there in front of you - and you're so disappointed when you can't actually reach out and touch it. 

The other thing is that it's not a love story. Sure, there is a love story. But the book is not about the love story. It's about the circus. Like I just mentioned. Don't expect to get swept off your feet in a torrent of romance from the moment you crack open the book (mostly because we meet our little lovebirds when they're children and don't have the faintest clue about the other person). Their romance is sweet and lovely and all that, but the book is about the Circus. Don't forget that.

It does take a little bit to get completely engrossed in the book, I will be honest. Maybe 50 pages or so? But once you get past those pages you won't be able to put it down. It's just there's so much to set up, so many stages to set, so many people to introduce, and a Circus to create. The book spans over a decade, and flits between different times with each chapter - going back and forth between the then, the kinda then, the closer to now, and the (amazingly wonderful) now when you (yes, YOU!) are at the Circus. 

Like I said at the beginning: I wish I wrote this book. Or maybe not, because then I wouldn't be able to experience it as a reader, and that would have been a shame. 

Go on, you'll love it. Promise. 

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Medium: Soft Cover
Pages: 516
Date Read: 14 November 2012
First Line: The circus arrives without warning.
Favorite Line: Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.
Last Line: You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream. [Whited out, for spoiler's sake]
Recommended: With 100% certainty that anyone, and everyone, will love every page.
Recommended For: Everyone whose life has a need of a little more magic. But, probably at least somewhere in High School to appreciate everything that Morgenstern has done with this novel. If you liked The Time Traveller's Wife or any other books by Niffeneggar, you'll like Morgenstern too, I'm sure of it.   


  1. This book sounds really good, I will have to add it to my list of books to read this upcoming year!

  2. Sounds awesome. I'll have to add it to my reading list, although judging by the length of my list currently, I won't be reading this until next January.

  3. This sounds like a really incredible book! I have seen the cover around and of course I've seen it at Barnes & Noble but I never gave it much thought. However, I think I just may need to change that. It sounds like such a whimsical, dark story!


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