This was supposed to be last week’s post. I was gone all week and just noticed that somehow it ended up posted as a separate page for some reason. Here it is in normal post form…whoops!
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My Rating: 4.5 stars
The circus arrives without warning. 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.
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. (from Goodreads)
I loved this book. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever read, in characters, plot, and writing style, and it definitely pulled me out of the slight reading slump I had been in for a little while! I couldn’t put it down.
First of all, the premise is incredibly creative and unique, and the plot spun out in an unpredictably lovely way. I have to say – this is not a fast-paced book, and I can understand that therefore it may not be some peoples’ taste. But I love character-driven, beautifully written stories that focus on thought and emotion (inner action, rather than outer action, if you will), and this book was definitely that. So I loved it, even though some people don’t.
I loved the cast of characters in this book too! Each of them were interesting and I cared about them all. Celia and Marco, of course, and Bailey and the twins (also can I just say that naming him Bailey is a stroke of genius…cough cough circuses), Chandresh, Mr. Barris, Tsukiko…everyone is different and they all felt so real and three-dimensional.
The setting, too, is almost a character in itself. The circus. It is a place that feels slightly creepy, but not in an obvious way. It is a place that is ever growing and developing, and it is a place that is simmering with unseen magic and a drama that the people flowing through the gates have no awareness of. The descriptions are phenomenal, even though the circus really seems like a setting that we can’t properly imagine, that perhaps even the author can’t properly imagine. But she still manages to help us picture some semblance of it, whatever our limited minds can.
There were so many intertwined plot threads and characters and perspectives that were put together so well…it’s the type of book that I’ll probably have to reread at least one more time, because I’m sure there are things I didn’t catch the first time.
My only real complaint is that it didn’t have a lot of thematic depth; I’m not even sure I can identify a theme. But the writing is so beautiful and the story is told so well that it really doesn’t matter all that much. The writing style is absolutely captivating as it twists and turns, making the already-unique plot even more incredible. If anything, perhaps, the theme of the book is beauty itself. And the writing captures that.
Really, I can’t even describe it in a way to do it justice. The Night Circus is truly unique, something that you can’t imagine reading until you actually read it. The way the writing, the setting, the characters, and the jumps in perspective all come together to tell a story is fantastic. It’s creepy, but in a subtle, sinister way rather than in-your-face. It is fantasy at its finest.
Content Info: one short, nonexplicit love scene between the main characters in addition to several other kisses; one use of a strong curse word (which I whited out in my book); some of the magical scenes/plot points might disturb younger readers, and there are a few violent deaths (not explicitly described).
Overall recommended for ages 16 and up.
What do you think? Have you read The Night Circus? If so, did you like it? If not, will you add it to your reading list? What’s the most unique book you’ve ever read? Share in the comments below!