Monday, 5 March 2012

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


There's a passage towards the end of The Night Circus (don't worry, it's not a spoiler) that encapsulates what I love about books:
"There's magic in [storytelling]. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift."
Now, The Night Circus wasn't a life-changing read by any means, but it does do exactly what a story should: creates magic. And that's not just because it's about magic (although that's certainly part of it); there's also a sense of wonder, delight and whimsy in the way it's told, in its language and construction, and in the quirky cast of characters that inhabit its pages. It's entertaining, it's mysterious and it's just plain fun.

The story itself centres around a competition between two young students of magic, for which the circus is the venue. Celia and Marco have been raised with the express purpose of defeating one another, but things get extremely complicated when their feelings - for each other, and for their circus family - come into play. They're likable enough protagonists, but I have to admit, as the book progressed I found myself less interested in their starcrossed love story and more invested in the secondary characters and the circus itself. It really is the star of the show.

I know some readers have had problems with the pacing and style of The Night Circus, and while it can be a little slow in places, I really enjoyed the winding path the plot took to get to the end. I was intrigued by the mystery of the "game" and loved the way it all slowly unravelled. But the highlight was definitely Morgenstern's descriptive language - she paints the circus in such a vivid and sensual way, you can practically smell the caramel on the air and see the stark black and white tents before you. She draws you in and makes you never want to leave. It truly is magical.

Rating: 4/5

Eye candy
I imagined Celia to look like Lily Collins, and Marco to look kinda like Lee Williams.


Fine Print
Published: 2011, Doubleday
Get it: Book Depository

11 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read this book. The next time I order some books I'll put it on the list. And I love that quote, so inspiring :)

    Happy midnight reading!

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  2. I have this sitting on my shelf, and now I can't wait to read it!

    This whole part: "And that's not just because it's about magic (although that's certainly part of it); there's also a sense of wonder, delight and whimsy in the way it's told, in its language and construction, and in the quirky cast of characters that inhabit its pages. It's entertaining, it's mysterious and it's just plain fun." really did wonders for my desire to read it. You make it sound magical without even really explaining why that is. And I love circus stories; I rarely get the opportunity to read them :)

    Asher

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    1. Oh, thanks Asher! Hope you enjoy it :)

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  3. Oh, oh, oh - I need to read The Night Circus. I've heard so much about the magic of the love story, I like that you highlighted the circus and secondary characters instead. Thanks for the review! PS: The pics of Johnny Depp below? Outstanding :)

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  4. Love that quote! And A book that creates magic, is all I need.

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  5. I loved The Night Circus. Great review.

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  6. I keep kicking myself because i have this book siting on my bookshelf and i haven't finished reading it. The part of it i have read i would describe a 'Magic' like you said.
    Great review Belle!

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  7. I love this review :) I also love the words whimsy ~ and everythign it implies :) I need to get myself a copy of this ~ especially as it sounds so different to what I usually read ~ which is a good thing :)

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  8. I'm so glad you liked this. I adored it. You're absolutely right - it creates magic. The pace was slow but I also liked the wandering pace.

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  9. I can totally see Celia looking like Lily Collins! I just listened to the audio version of this and reviewed it on my blog. I also added a link to your review on my blog (please let me know if this isn't ok). If you get a chance, check it out: http://explanniefyfed.blogspot.com/2012/10/audio-book-review-night-circus-by-erin.html

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  10. I know not everyone thought it was as enchanting as I did, but they found it to be an interesting read nonetheless. I would suggest reading it in the winter when the Holiday season offers an air of magic as well.
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