The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Goodreads: The Night Circus

Summary: There is a black and white circus that arrives at night unannounced.  Most people are enchanted by it; few know that the magic performed inside is real.  Two illusionists have been chosen by their masters to face each other in a battle of endurance and skill.    But when they fall in love, their lives and those of the other circus performers become endangered.

Review: The Night Circus is an enchanting, dreamlike book filled with magic and lyrical descriptions.  The official summary gives the impression there is a high stakes, life-or-death duel occurring (which is technically true), but it is obvious that one of Morgernstern’s primary goals is to give the reader the experience of entering the most magical circus imaginable.  She even includes short chapters written from the point of view of “you” as you wander through tunnels and tents and see impossible performances.  What you see is astounding—a wishing tree, a garden of ice, paper animals that fly—and all of it is rendered in black and white.  It is understandable why some of the characters become obsessed.

On the actual plot end it is worth noting, as reviewers have, that this is no race.  But that is the point.  It would be difficult to appreciate the circus if readers were zipped through it just to see how the magicians’ competition ends.  Be prepared for a reading experience closer to what many classics offer, rather than the latest pulp fiction.  The Night Circus is just as much about the journey as it is about the conclusion.  Neither is disappointing.

Amid the world of the circus is the story of two lovers who are kept apart by powerful circumstances they strive to control.  Their tale is quiet and beautiful, and just shy of tragic.  Travelling with them are unusual twins, and a contortionist who knows more than she says.  All the characters, whether within the circus or without, are captivating, and each are offered chapters from their own points of view.  The way their single stories converge into the story of the circus is truly a work of art.

The Night Circus is a unique novel, offering scents and sound and sights—an immersion into its world of enchantment and the lives of its characters.  There is much at stake in this small venue built and run on untested magic, but there is also much to gain.  Enter Le Cirque des Rêves, and you might fall in love.

Published: September 2011

6 thoughts on “The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    • Briana says:

      It was one of my favorite books this year. I thought it was really beautiful and creative! I’ve been recommending it to everyone, and it seems to be a bit, so I hope you enjoy it, too!


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