Feb 24, 2012

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Summary: 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.

The Night Circus is one of those books that, when you see them around the blogosphere, you go "I need to read it. I need to read it NOW!" My darling bought it for me for Christmas after he saw me drooling all over it in the bookstore. I'm glad to report, all the raving reviews are nothing but the truth, even though I have a small complaint or two to throw in...

The Night Circus is unique, truly like nothing I've read before. Most of its marvel sits in the field of visual pleasure, and saying that The Night Circus is a feast for your eyes an understatement. Imagine a circus all black and white, with a drop of red here and there, hiding fantastic secrets, appearing in a field over night when yesterday it wasn't there... It is absolutely beautiful to "look" at. Morgenstern paid a lot of attention to details and appeals to all senses to suck you into the beautiful Night Circus. It'll definitely push your mental eye to its limits, but it is oh so worth it. It was made to leave you in awe, and awed me it did. Fantastic job. I cannot stress it enough.

Now, as for the things I wasn't completely satisfied with...Morgenstern set the bar really high at the beginning. I couldn't guess where the story was going, even less the outcome. I loved the premise, two magicians engaged in a battle that will have the circus as the battlefield. Prestige came to my mind, but scratch that, Night Circus goes far beyond that. The problem is not easy to pinpoint...it's as elusive as the circus itself. The build up to the clash was keeping me on the edge of my seat. And when the two magicians finally meet...that's it. They meet and gradually fall in love. That's where it went downwards for me-plotwise. All the supporting characters were more interesting, even the two main characters were much better to follow separately than together. I didn't really feel the romance, I didn't feel the circus anymore. I was left hanging in the air, lost the strings, and somewhere around that point, it lost a star in my book.

Despite that glitch, I'd still push recommend The Night Circus to everyone. Mogenstern didn't just write a pretty book, she wrote a beautiful book that I loved for having so much heart and soul. It weaves life and magic together, in beautiful writing and with lovable characters. I can only say, kudos for the imagery and fantasy, and thank you for the magic. Reading The Night Circus is a dreamlike experience. Now go grab your copy. Go.
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