Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
November 22, 2011 46 Comments
There’s been quite a hype about this book and when I won it in a giveaway by Capricious Reader I was really excited. More so even when a beautiful hardback copy arrived on my doorstep. The book was such a pleasure to look at and to hold, it’s magic!
And what was inside, was very good too. Oh no: I’m going to add to the hype! This was a fantastic book. I loved it all the way through.
The Night Circus: What it is about
It’s the late 1800s. Prospero the Enchanter is an illusionist with a secret: his magic is real. When it turns out his daughter Celia has magic skills too, he sets up a challenge with an old rival of his: his rival may find and train whatever person he likes, to enter into a competition with Celia, and he is convinced that Celia will win.
Enter Marco, a boy from an orphanage, who is being trained by a mysterious man in a grey suit, to become Celia’s competitor. Neither he nor Celia understand the rules of the game, but they both become involved with the Night Circus, that opens at nightfall and closes at dawn.
The circus consists of a large number of tents, each with its own show. Celia has her illusionist show while Marco is only sometimes at the circus, he works in London, doing the accounts.
Celia and Marco fall in love but they are also competitors. How can they solve this insolvable problem?
The Night Circus: What I thought
I already said it: I loved this book. The time, Dickens’ era in which futures were told by mysterious ladies and the death were contacted via a medium. The setting, a circus so special that people could lose themselves in it.
I also enjoyed the parade of characters: two sets of twins, a mysterious man in a grey suit, a clock designer from Germany or a Japanese contortionist. They all had something intriguing about them. They were slightly cardboard, we could have learned a bit more about them, but it didn’t matter really, since all were pawns in the challenge of Celia and Marco.
The language in which the book is written is also appealing. Slightly old-fashioned but no tormentingly long sentences like you might find in Dickens or Wilkie Collins’ work.
The story is sometimes a little vague, not all is explained and that adds to the atmosphere of magic.
My main point of complaint comes from outside the book: because some people in my part of the blogging world had not finished the book or given it a so-so rating (you know who you are and actually, you have all the right in the world to stop reading or give a so-so rating but that’s beside the point), I was expecting to also want to give up after some time. But I kept liking the book, and liking it more and I wondered when this point would come that I wouldn’t like it anymore: It didn’t happen – I liked all of it. I should have skipped the negative reviews so I would have had a better reading experience.
As it was, I’d say this is one fine book that will be counted among my favorite books for this year. Stop reading the reviews, read the book!
I got this book: from a giveaway by Capricious Reader
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 402
First published: 2011
Genre: fantasy (magic)