Book Review: The Night Circus ~ Erin Morgenstern | ★★★★★

Morgenstern must have dipped her manuscript into a river of magic and it came out soaked in mystery and wonder.

Click to find on Goodreads

Expected rating: ★★★★★

Actual rating: ★★★★★

Read if… living in a dream is your thing + you appreciate whimsical writing and fantasy and circuses (animal-harm-free) + you’re not looking for an overly strong plot that makes sense + you’re okay with putting your life aside until you’ve finished reading in its entirety (acknowledgments included).

Why I read it: I seemed to be the only one who hadn’t read it? And it’s circus-themed and smells like wonder.

Triggers: child abuse, fire, amnesia, death

Read it in: 3 days (401 pages)

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 Rêves, 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.

I cannot even coherently express my love for this book.

When I wrote this review and typed 401 pages, I couldn’t believe it. What, I read 400 pages in three days? And I didn’t even seem to see time pass? But that’s the way The Night Circus is. It’s the kind of story that makes you forget you have a life to live outside of its pages.

Morgenstern’s an illusionist who manages to divert your attention from a situation just long enough to connect the dots in the backstage and the BAM! surprising and admiration-worthy spin. For real.

At first, many characters are introduced, and you can’t quite keep track of who is who and what year they’re living in and what have you, Sir, to do with this story? (All like in a proper dream.) But then, everything starts making sense and… *squeals in fangirl*

TL;DR: I’ve been bewitched.

  • The mood is mystical, as if the reader were living in a dream.
  • The story combines the magical, delightful, and impossible in a breathtaking harmony.
  • The plot builds itself in a vignette-like format. You’re thrown into the future and then sucked back into the past, and things make sense only when queen Morgenstern decides they do, because otherwise it would be too soon for us poor mortals to understand.
  • The description of every tent was so throughout and elaborated that I would rather read about them than see them in images.
  • The implication that magic is everywhere and anyone could learn it, except people don’t want to acknowledge things they can’t explain, is such a metaphor for so many things, I just *bursts*.
  • The narrator isn’t human. The story is told in third-person ominous perspective, which makes it even more mystical.
  • Circus, circus, circus, circus. The circus is the heart of the story more than the characters can be. More than the romance (if you think romance is a main focus, think again).
  • Burlesque-y, vintage vibe.
  • The synopsis isn’t faithful enough to the actual story. The novel is more than that. And different at the same time.
  • There are some serious triggers (like blood and child abuse, honestly, I was shocked sometimes) and some characters would deserve to be chained in an asylum (it adds to the quirkiness of the story, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea).
  • I couldn’t shake the idea that the challenge is extremely selfish and it bothered my little sensible heart that so many people were put in the middle (and their life threatened) without knowing it or being able to defend themselves.
  • If one has not the brain power to get engaged at the moment, one should delay their introduction to the story.
  • It’s a standalone. There was not enough of it all, even in almost 400 pages.

Morgenstern weaved a beautiful description to dress an intricate plot. She didn’t put words on paper; she put images, emotions, wishes in her readers’ hands.

The Night Circus is a door to another universe.

I’ll place this one on top of my rec pile.

Have you read The Night Circus? What do you think of its cover? Let me know!

43 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Circus ~ Erin Morgenstern | ★★★★★

    1. Thank you! Fortunately, we don’t all like the same things, otherwise they’d be no diversity in literature (or anything else).
      I think I’m more interested in knowing an opinion different than mine rather than a similar one. It helps to develop better critical thinking, maybe? If you point out flaws that I hadn’t noticed, then I can see the book from a more rational point of view. Which is great, because nothing is perfect, and it’s useful to remember that.
      I’ve read your review on Goodreads about TNC, and I was surprised to have missed some things (like a lot of sentences starting with pronouns or nouns) because I just enjoyed the book too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What I love about the bloggers I follow is that we all like seeing differing views. It’s fun to see why someone loved or hated a book.

        It’s funny how we miss things when we get grabbed by the book. It’s similar to Belle Revolte, it had its issues but the second it grabbed me they all went to the back of my mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I usually read long reviews after reading a book, to compare my thoughts to other people’s 😂

        I admire how you can still remember the issues after you’ve finished reading the book. If the story ends in a way I like, I’m practically unable to remember the negative details (working on it, though).

        Like

  1. I’m so glad you liked this one, Alice!
    ” Morgenstern must have dipped her manuscript into a river of magic and it came out soaked in mystery and wonder. ” No one could have said it any better!
    Have you read her other book, the Starless Sea?
    – Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Morgenstern must have dipped her manuscript into a river of magic and it came out soaked in mystery and wonder…. Oh my goodness… that is a perfect description of this book!
    And one of my favourite parts of the story is those descriptions of the individual tents. I want to reread this at some point. I’m sure I missed some elements in my first reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heeey I was just asking someone about this book today versus The Starless Sea, and look, a wild review appeared! How timely. xD I love your review!

    I just have a few important questions: what if I have no sense of smell? Is the smell of wonder a necessity to enjoying this book? And say I have to adult in, like, at least five days a week. Is that going to be a problem? 😛

    Based on this review, this sounds like one that I absolutely NEED to read (and I may just be the last person alive who hasn’t read it yet?). Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aafdjksgh thank you, Sammie ♡

      To answer your important questions: The experience can still be pretty amazing if you’ve got a good sense of taste. If you’ll be able to taste the magic, then there is no need to worry about smelling the wonder. (Plus, you can still touch the wonder. Try to close your eyes and stretch your hand towards the tents and stars behind your eyelids. You’ll feel it, it’s sparkly and electrifying.) As for the adulting part… I shouldn’t give any advice or answer here, because I kinda neglected a good deal of my studies and slept only three hours per night to finish TNC 😂

      It surely is a book with a style to discover. I hope you’ll like it!

      Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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