Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ended up not being at all what I expected. But what I had in mind pales in comparison to what the novel actually ended up being. This book is 13330943near perfection and absolutely beautiful. I say near perfection because there were a couple things that I didn’t exactly love, for my own reasons.

I actually first put this novel on my list back when it first came out in 2011 (I think that was the year), but seeing as I was in college, I didn’t have the funds I do now to buy books whenever I wanted.

I am forever grateful to all the bloggers and others who have mentioned their love for this book because it reminded me to pick the book up. Unsurprisingly, I am so glad I finally read it!

The Writing

“Like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars.”

Sigh. The writing is an amazing blend of beautiful prose, mystery, and romance that makes this book magical all on its own but the presence of magic itself weaved into the story makes it that much more satisfying of a read.

Erin Morgenstern is a superb storyteller and I currently have a major book hangover because of that. I loved her way of describing different aspects of anything in the story. She gave more than just well used descriptive words; she gave a sense, a feeling for each scene and chapter.

With this novel, Morgenstern gave a true example of what it is to find magic in the written word. To find magic in the everyday.

The Characters

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

I really liked Celia and Marco as characters, but I loved them together. Not simply as a couple, but just the way they fit together in each scene. The way I could imagine how free they were together, how their minds work against and with each other at the same time. I think they were well executed.

But, Poppet and Widget are by far my favorite characters. I don’t know if its because they grew up in the circus from the moment they were born or what, but I love them.

All the other characters we meet that show up more than once all seem tertiary characters. They’re important, but they really help keep the foundation of the story well built, adding pieces here and there to help the reader get sense of the world and hints of what has already happened and what might happen. Tsukiko, though more secondary, was very intriguing, but like her personality, all you get are vague wisps of who she is here and there.

Like most circus performers (I imagine) each character is unique in their own way and add something magical to the not only the circus, but the whole of the story.

The Plot

“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”

Going into this book I expected a little more adventure and excitement in regards to this ‘challenge’. That the challenge was something that occurred behind the scenes of the circus and everyone knew what was going on. I imagined Celia and Marco to – duel – I guess in a sense.

I am very happy that Morgenstern took that expectation, threw it out the window, and gave me something better.

The idea of a magical challenge of sorts is an intriguing idea on its own. Part of the mystery comes from the two teachers, who you only get glimpses of here and there throughout the story. The competitors, Celia and Marco, are kept in the dark for most of the time the challenge is going, which means that the reader is in the same boat since Celia and Marco are the ones most written about.

This book is definitely a slow burn, at least for me, which is also not what I was expecting. But once you find out more about the rules of the challenge, you completely understand why the book spans so many years.

There are a couple other parts of the plot that I would include here, but I’m afraid the magic of it would be ruined for those that haven’t read the book yet if I do talk about them. I don’t want to accidentally ruin it.

Things I Disliked

I wish I didn’t have to have this section. But while there were a couple things that I didn’t love, it did not in any way ruin the novel for me.

“The most difficult thing to read is time. Maybe because it changes so many things.”

The first thing is more something that confused me from time to time. The story unfolds in chronological order for the most part. But at some point, you start reading part of the story from a year into the future. And then some of the chapters alternate between two different days, of the same year, but different places and characters. I understand why she wrote that way and I cannot imagine it any other way, but there were a couple times that I had to flip back to the chapter before.

“I have been surrounded by love letters you two have built each other for years, encased in tents.”

The romance between Celia and Marco developed slowly and in the beginning I don’t think they were even aware of it. Their relationship, at least the beginning, felt very whimsical and romantic, seen in fleeting moments of them together. And didn’t seem realistic, but maybe that was the point?

No matter, this is a novel that I think anyone would fall in love with. I look forward to the time I decide to pick this book up again.

If you haven’t read it yet or added it your TBR, what are waiting for? And if you don’t plan on it, then we’re not friends anymore.

Just kidding, I still love you.

Happy Reading!


11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. I still haven’t read this yet, and I don’t know why…it sounds like it’s so beautifully written, especially with some of those quotes you listed above! I really need to read this…awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by! There were so many great quotes! And yes the writing was one of my favorite parts about it. I hope you get to read it soon! :)


  2. Great review! This is such a good book. I just loved the atmosphere of the circus. I’ve read the book a couple of times, and it gets better on a re-read, because you don’t have that confusion of who is this / when is this happening.

    Liked by 1 person

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