Reviewed: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

TheNightCircus_CoverFirst, a quick book summary courtesy of the publisher:

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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot to love about Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. The author does an extraordinary job of creating a vivid, one-of-a-kind setting with a touch of gothic flair. The mental imagery the words created are striking and at times I could almost smell the described scents of the night circus or taste the treats the food carts were selling. This, in my opinion, is a huge feat considering that this whole world has its roots solely in the imagination of the author. On that point, I must concede the brilliance of this book.

Looking a little deeper into the plot, however, the magic faded a bit for me. The characters seemed almost interchangeable…all lofty, “magical”, and confident. Just outside of my reach, which in turn made me care very little about them. The effort was very clearly put on the imaginative creation of a world with little regard paid to those inhabiting it.

Was this book unlike anything I’ve read? Yes. The Night Circus took me to another place while I was inside it’s pages, and that’s the charm that it offers a reader.

Bottom line: If you enjoy fantastical settings and get lost in beautiful prose, this book is for you. You’ll love it. If you need character development to make the story one worth reading, you may want to skip it.