Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Published by Doubleday, Sept 13, 2011
Hardcover, 387 pages

Since I’m just beginning this book blogging thing, I figured I might as well start off reviewing the last thing I read, The Night Circus. I don’t have any just-published or soon-to-be published books to review since I just started, but I hope that you enjoy my blog anyway!

I know this book has been out for a while, and so a lot of you have probably already read it. I also read that there was a lot of hype around its release, but, alas, I’m late to the party, as always!

While walking through Barnes & Noble a few months ago, the cover instantly caught my attention. I’m a graphic design major in college, and I thought, “If this book is anywhere near as good as its cover, it may just become my new favorite.” When I started it way back in January, I wasn’t so sure.

By just reading the inside flap, I was expecting lots of action packed scenes, a la The Hunger Games mixed with a setting somewhat like Water for Elephants. After about a hundred pages, I figured out that there weren’t any action packed scenes to speak of. Not to say it wasn’t good, but it just was totally different from what I expected. I put it down and didn’t pick it back up until four days ago.

The Night Circus is a story about Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams). The two main characters, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, have been bound to each other since childhood. They are to compete, using Le Cirque des Rêves as a venue, to see which type of magic is superior. The competition isn’t so much of a showdown as it is a long, drawn out creative process. The two illusionists use their powers to create new tents for the circus, and to keep the circus going.

The imagery in this book is fantastic. Morgenstern paints a visually stunning picture of the circus. This was the strongest part about the novel. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but imagining the smell of caramel apple drifting through the air and the black and white tents all around me.

When it comes to character development, though, The Night Circus could use a little work. Although at the end of the novel when the narrator is revealed, I understood why there wasn’t a lot of character development with the two main characters. I still felt as if I never really got to know them, though. The secondary characters were extremely well written, however. Bailey, Poppet, Widget, Herr Theissen, and even Mr. A. H— all had appealing qualities about them that made me enjoy the parts of the story that they were featured in more than the meat of the story that was Celia and Marco.

In the end, I’m very glad that I decided to give this book another chance. While it may not be the perfect book, it definitely holds a special place on my bookshelf!

May 17, 2012

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