Michelle's Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

book cover Paperback: 387 pages
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: September 13, 2011
ISBN: 9780385534635

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Michelle's Review:
There was so much buzz about this book and rave reviews and people saying it was the best book they're read ever that I just had to read if for myself.

But while I thought it was a really good read and there were some parts that were absolutely magical and captivating and amazing, I just didn't find the whole book magical and captivating and amazing. There were some parts that just dragged due to an overabundance of details like the dinner party scenes and I found myself drifting off and getting bored. I also didn't like how the dates jumped around. The story spanned years and it would go back and forth by months or years or days and it got really confusing. Every time I had to figure out the timeline, it took me out the story. After a while I just pretty much ignored the dates but I do like to keep a clear timeline of a story in my head when I read.

I did enjoy the "duel" with the circus being the battle ground for magicians Celia and Marco. I really liked both of their characters. In the first half of the book, we watch them grow up and develop their magic. The relationship between Celia and Marco was beautiful and I loved that the magic they did and what they created in the circus was like their writing love letters to each other. The magic aspect of the novel was beautifully done. I also enjoyed the other secondary characters and how their story all intertwined and were all connected of the circus.

The story comes to the reader in pieces through different characters and point of views and you sort of have to puzzle through it. At times it is whimsical, other times it takes a dark turn but it's not until you reach the end that you get the full story and it could be slow going. The Night Circus is the sort of book you'll have to read twice to truly get all the nuances and subtleties of the story. Ms. Morgenstern's prose was beautiful and imaginative and the images she invoked really brings the circus to life. While I had some issues with it and I wasn't as wowed as other readers I still very much enjoyed The Night Circus. It was an impressive debut and I am very eager to see what Ms. Morgenstern will write next.


  1. While I think I might like this one for a great relationship and the magical elements, I'm sure I would get confused with it jumping all over the place. I sounds like the book is just a bit too long as well. Somethings could have probably been cut out from what you are saying.

    I'm glad you still enjoyed this one though, thanks for the great review

  2. We too have heard wonderful things about this book. We started reading but haven't finished, yet so far we are quite captivated. The only parts we don't love -- the parts that drag -- are about the boy (forgot his name) and his sister in the tree or deciding on colleges. We have a feeling these interruptions will make sense in the end, but for right now, they're really distracting and disruptive. :/

    Still, we are entranced by the circus and curious about how the battle between Celia and Marco will play out. (As well as the romance, since Marco is obviously interested. :P) Glad to hear there's lots of magic (pun intended) ahead!

  3. All the hype got me very, very excited for it and so I was totally happy when I got my own copy. However, I put it down at page 50. I know, I didn't give it a huge chance, but it was boring and slow to me. :/ Hopefully, the next time I pick it up, I'll finish the book. Awesome review!

  4. I also enjoyed the book but wasn't as blown away by it as everyone else seems to be. I loved the descriptions of the circus and could totally see myself as one of those people who follow it around, wearing a red scarf. But the lack in character development disappointed me. The two central characters were rather flat and I would have really liked to have gotten to know the twins better, which doesn't happen. But it was still a fun read.


Thank you so much to stopping by today and taking the time to comment.