Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternErin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

The action of this novel centers around a beautiful, mysterious circus known as Le Cirque des Rêves. It is open only at night, and it contains unimaginable wonders — not only acrobats, contortionists, and exotic animals, but also gardens made entirely of ice and carousels with animals so lifelike that they breathe. In this magical environment, Celia and Marco meet and fall in love. However, unbeknownst to them, they are also rivals: both of them are magicians whose tutors are engaged in a deadly game. As Celia and Marco outdo themselves with feats of magical prowess, they must also find a way to end the “game” without paying an unthinkable price.

I find myself a little conflicted about this book, since I absolutely loved certain aspects of it but found other parts underwhelming. By far the strongest part of the novel is its setting: the Night Circus is described in such specific, evocative, loving detail that I absolutely believed in its magic. I’ve rarely read a book with such lush, awe-inspiring descriptions. By comparison, the plot of the star-crossed dueling magicians, while a wonderful idea in theory, is a bit flimsy in execution. I didn’t particularly connect with any of the characters. Even Celia and Marco are extremely flat, with no particular defining characteristics except for their mutual infatuation. The circus is the heart of the book, but the events and people surrounding it seem almost like afterthoughts. That said, I did enjoy reading the book overall and would definitely read more by Morgenstern. Also, I hope this book is made into a movie and that Baz Luhrmann directs it — it would be gorgeous.

16 thoughts on “Review: The Night Circus

  1. Cassandra says:

    “…I absolutely loved certain aspects of it but found other parts underwhelming.” This was my exact reaction to the book. If every detail had matched the circus’ magnificence, it could have been one of my favorite books. Instead, I feel the author focused too much on the magical aspects of the story and forgot about plot and character development.

  2. Holly says:

    Totally agree with your assessment of this book. The love story did take a backseat to the circus itself. Baz Luhrmann turning this into a movie is a fantastic idea BTW!

  3. Jenny says:

    Is Baz Luhrmann going to direct the film of this? I presume there is going to be a movie and you’re right — Baz Luhrmann would be exactly the right director for this. Oh. I want that to happen very much.

    • Christina says:

      Jenny, I honestly have no idea. My wishful thinking is that (1) they’ll make a movie, and (2) Luhrmann will direct it. But I haven’t heard anything to indicate that’s the case. It would be great, though, wouldn’t it?

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