The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I waited a long, long time for The Night Circus. The Cornish Library Service bought just one copy, I wasn’t as quick as I might have been spotting that it had finally gone into stock, and so I found myself at the end of a long, long queue.

I waited and waited.

Eventually arrived, and it was a book of such beauty.

It came wrapped in a striking cover, of black, white, and just a splash of red. Behind that cover I could see lovely red binding, and wonderful black edges to the pages. Inside was a red page-marker, and the layout, the presentation, was just right.

And the invitation was alluring:

“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…”

It pulled me into an extraordinary world ….

The plot is simple: rival magicians with very different ideas agree to a challenge. Each will train an apprentice in the art of magic, and those apprentices will be set against each other in the ultimate game. A game where there can only be one winner …

It is simple, but it is enough.

Because the game takes place in The Circus of Dreams – The Night Circus – with the two apprentices,  Celia and Marco, not knowing the rules, the identity of their opponenent, or even that they are in a game at all.

In time they will realise.

And their duel will create more and more wonders for the circus.

The circus is extraordinary. Such wonders to see. Darkness and light. Dreams and reality. It is quite impossible to not be drawn in.

Such a rich imagination! Such powers of description!

An an extraordinary cast of characters. But they are characters, and no more. Players on a stage. I could watch and wonder, but the depth to match everything around them wasn’t there. I couldn’t see into their hearts and minds.

So sometimes the spectacle became too much. It was wonderful to watch and wonder, but I wanted something more that just wasn’t there.

But The Night Circus is still extraordinary …

16 responses

  1. I’m looking forward to reading this book, i liked her first book but wasn’t so keen on her fearful symmetry. this looks promising though.

    • Lou, I think the cover layout may have mislead you – Audrey Niffenegger is passing comment on Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel.

      I felt the same way about AN’s two novels, and though this wasn’t everything I hoped for I did enjoy it for what it was in the end.

  2. oh good, this one is sitting under the tree…yes, I have to get my own books for Christmas because La Famille can’t keep up with the intake. Looking forward to this one.

    • My family have long taken the view that because I buy books on a regular basis they aren’t special enough for presents!!! This year though I may have managed to persuade my fiance otherwise, and he has been browsing the Persephone catalogue.

      I wish you a wonderful trip to the circus, and I hope that the Canadian postal service manages to deliver your Virago Secret Santa present on time too.

  3. So glad to see you liked this one. I loved it, but I agree that there was a little something missing. I think what was missing was more character development with Celia and Marco. But the writing was just beautiful and the little flaws didn’t bother me much.

  4. I am very, very close to the end of this book and I agree with you…although, the imagery to me is so amazing, so enticing, that I am willing to forgive some of the character development. This book is really like no other book I have ever read – and how old is Morgenstern, anyway? She looks incredibly young to me…which is exciting. What else does she have in store for us readers!?!?

  5. There was some extraordinary imagery, but I felt the same as you – that the characters were more players on a stage than real people. I had issues with the plot too (which was so vague! as you write, pretty much no one has any idea what’s going on or what the rules of the competition are) and didn’t love the book; it felt somehow incomplete to me. This is one of those rare books, though, that I want so badly to see as a movie – I can’t wait to see some of Morgenstern’s images transferred to the screen.

  6. Ah such a blonde moment. Thats what I get for trying to read posts on my phone : ) I’ll definitely still keep an eye out for this book.

  7. Pingback: Night Circus Reviews

  8. Pingback: The invitation is alluring « Night Circus Reviews

  9. I have read so many wonderful things about this book that I might pick it up. To be honest, it is not a book I would have picked up that is what is great about book blogs lots of lovely new books to try!

  10. The setting was remarkable, but I agree with you about the characters. Too wooden and bland for my liking. This book just makes me *sigh* because it could have been so much better.

  11. I bought this from the Book People because it was such a good price and hope to get to read it over the Christmas period if I can manage to sneak some time to myself! The mixture of reviews mean I will be very interested to see what I make of it.

    You are not alone in not having books bought for you. I do occasionally get them from my son as he doesn’t mind going into Waterstones or buying from Amazon, but otherwise I have to buy my own. And do!

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