The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – 4.5 stars (out of 5)

The Night Circus

Synopsis (from Good Reads):

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.

This story is so beautifully written I don’t even know where to start. I am generally not someone that likes much description. Or a slow pace. Or a large cast of characters. But it all works in The Night Circus. Every word seems important. Every character nuance, every slight detail.

I feel like the synopsis of the book is a little misleading. It makes it sound like it is completely about Marco and Celia and has actiony magic scenes. I thought it was a YA paranormal romance. But it’s not really that at all. I don’t even know if this is considered YA. It doesn’t feel like it. And while Marco and Celia are central to the story, the romance between them doesn’t fully start until about half way through the book. Their “dueling” is not action-packed, but subtle and thoughtful, as is their relationship. There is also a larger cast of characters that feel just as central to the story. No, this book isn’t at all what I expected. It was so much better.

I love every single character in this story. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before. There are of course characters I love more than others, but I really love them all. They all have purpose. They are all written in enough detail and emotion that you feel like you have a connection to each one.

I’m not going to go into any great detail about the plot. I have lots of thoughts about the style and timeline and the character development. But right now, after just finishing it, I just want to focus on the emotion of it, of how beautifully written it is. I feel like the following passage towards the end of the story really encapsulates that feeling:

“It is important…Someone needs to tell those tales…There’s magic in that. 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…There are many kinds of magic, after all.”

So go read this book. Seriously. I kept ignoring it for a long time and wish that I didn’t. I got a copy from the library, but I think this is a book I’m actually going to purchase so I can re-read again and again.

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28 thoughts on “The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – 4.5 stars (out of 5)

  1. I’ve want to read this book for a while now, but it’s so expensive (in all formats) that I keep passing it up. I hadn’t thought about checking to see if my library had it, but now I think I will 🙂

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