Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Night CircusTitle: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Date Read: May 4, 2017
Genre: Magical realism (I think?)
Rating: 3 Stars

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of those books that are difficult to explain unless you’ve already read it. At its basic, it’s a story of two magicians who are determined to prove who is better. They choose two unsuspecting competitors to participate in a game to find out who is the better magician. Against anyone’s expectations, these two competitors fall in love and fight against their masters who are very much in control in order to be together.

“Dreams have ways of turning into nightmares.”

There are other characters that populate the story. Their stories seem to be at first very disjointed and unconnected to the main one at first, but by the end of the story you see how the author masterfully weaves them all together and shows us how it all connects.

Morgenstern’s novel is very much a surrealist type of book. It constantly weaves between time periods and flows back and forth between characters, making you feel like you’re in a dream yourself. What I loved about this book was the actual circus itself. There are so many different tents and as you’re wandering through the black and white tapestry of the cloth with the characters, you can’t help but wonder what colorful mysteries you find inside.

“You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is a dream.”

While I was reading it, everything was very much familiar, but there was something that was off about it as I was reading it. If you’ve ever had a dream where you know everything was real, but something was off about it, this is how The Night Circus felt to me and that’s why I didn’t like it. Morgenstern was a good enough writer to not let it fall flat or become underwhelming and unbelievable, it just didn’t touch my sense of enjoyment in that regard.

The love story between Celia and Marco was what I loved best. They complemented each other and didn’t fall into a lot the tropes that usually populate modern love stories. I kept reading because I wanted to know why the magicians didn’t want them to fall in love and whether or not they defied the odds of what was bestowed upon them. And for this, I gave the book 3 stars instead of 2.

This book was recommended to me because I enjoyed Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. After reading both books, the only similarities I can see between is that they’re both set in a circus and they both have a love story. This is where the similarities end and if you’re picking up one because of the other, brace yourself for a very different ride.


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