Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark.”

Le Cirque des Reves, the Night Circus, comes without warning. It comes in the night in the blink of an eye. It is simply there, without question or cause. Marco and Celia are two young magicians inside of this circus and they both are part of a lifelong battle. Magic is the tool of the game and the circus is the stage. Little do they know, in the game only one can be left standing. But before they even realize it, they have fallen head over heels in love with one another. But love is not a part of the game nor does it give them a one-way ticket out of it. So, they must play the game regardless of circumstances around them. Whatever the costs, the show must go on.

This book is swarming with a very enchanting, haunting sort of prose. The author definitely takes a liking to long descriptions and sparkling words. A majority of the characters are circus performers except for a keen circus goer, Bailey. Bailey acts as a side character that falls in love with the circus and so desires to be a part of it. His whole life is directed and boring. The circus is not. It just is. The whole circus is teeming with magic and there is no set schedule to the circus. Little do people know, there is a sort of sinister reason behind the circus. Behind the curtain a competition of magic going on between two people, born and breed for this very reason. The main characters, Marco and Celia, have no idea who the other one is, that is until Marco finally reveals himself. What happens next changes their entire lives. They fall in love and fight as they question everything, including the game so that they may be together.

There are hideously dull looking cakes that actually taste exquisite. Then there are cakes that are decorated beautifully and look like they were formed by the hands of angels, but taste like goat’s chewed up an old charred Hershey’s bar, spit it up, and then over baked it. This book was like the over baked goat cake. My first reaction to this book was simply how beautiful and different the prose was. The use of imagery and descriptions of the circus and the people were enchanting. I am a sucker for eccentric things and this book definitely delivered in that respect. It made me want to be there myself, in fact. I did not, though, see much development in the actual story line. It did not give many reasons as to why certain things happened in the story, such as the game itself or the background to some of the characters. Bailey seemed like he would be a main character, but the story did not seem to really develop there. It was almost as if he shifted to a side character. I believe the book tried hard to be so mysterious that it sacrificed a lot of sense making. The story jumped around a lot and the characters were fairly flat. For a lot of the story I would get lost and spend time trying to figure what exactly was going on. The author, Erin Morgenstern, did well with the prose and her words, but she could have spent a little more time developing the actual story and making sure it flowed much better. On the whole, it was an enjoyable read and a nice break from a lot of the other books I am used to reading. Regardless, I hope to read more from this author in hopes that she will better her writing. There is a lot of potential!

You can find the book here!

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