I’m going to call it a day now…Review: The Night Circus

The circus is coming…

The circus of media attention surrounding this book was certainly amazing. Chapters/Indigo even went out on the highwire to say it was the “Best Book of the Year.” And the hoopla surrounding it, with interviews, and parties, and readings, and circuses being held on October 13th, you certainly would have thought the second coming was upon us.

However, let’s hope that Indigo has a net to catch them, as I just don’t agree. (It probably helped them to sell way more books however.) As well, based on the many reviews in my “circle”, including fellow hoarders Liz and Jackie, it didn’t live up to expectation for them either. And it’s because of all these reviews that have all said the exact same thing, that I’m packing it in, I’m calling it a day, I just have too much on the shelf to continue. I don’t need to read any further, as I’ve been told that the story never meets the expectations in terms of 1.) character development; 2.) what exactly is the Challenge?; 3.) Is it about the Night Circus (beautifully described) or is it about this Challenge?

Now, Morgenstern’s first job is that of an artist/ graphic artist and that is very clearly demonstrated in the desciptions throughout the book. The descriptions of the circus and its acts themselves and the atmosphere inside are quite stunning and indeed, very magical…I personally loved the description of the clock.  The attention to details, even the signage “decorated with flourishes” and “looping white letters on a black background” all show her artistic background. Is it because of this that they are so able to market this piece of as much as they do/have? It gives booksellers and the like much to market doesn’t it, with book readings in a space decorated as though you are in the Night Circus and pictures and origami doves, etc. and people dressed as Reveurs


This is a bookstore in Mississipi that held a reading by Morgenstern and elaborately decorated for the event. (Cool cool looking bookstore though – when you look in to it, not the decor for the Night Circus event).

The descriptions are indeed beautiful, yet they are basic at the same time. Does that make sense to you? Meaning they seem as though they are very standard descriptions, almost plain and common descriptions.  Chapters are also very short, further making it feel very YA. However, I will give her credit for her titles of each chapter as they were as beautiful as her descriptions of the magic acts.

“What had been a heavy wool coat becomes a long piece of black silk that ripples like water over the chair. The flames vanish. Only a few lingering wisps of smoke remain, along with the sharp smell of charred wood that is slowly changing to the comforting scent of a fireplace, tinged with something like cinnamon or clove.” (from Oneiromancy, Concord, Massachusets)

The description is simple and yet you can clearly visualize and even smell that cinnamon or clove and be comforted.

So, sorry to say, but I’m going to close up shop and just abandon it now. I haven’t felt the drive to get to it and have always found something else to distract me from getting back to reading it. It’s just been okay to read, yes, I’ve enjoyed it somewhat, I can honestly say that. It’s just that I’ve read way too many reviews now telling me the ending or the non-ending to care about it any further. I guess it serves me right for buying in to the hype. I should know by now to steer clear of obsessively hyped books.

Review: The Night Circus

The marketing machine behind this debut novel was incredible.  Touted as the new Twilight (someone shoot me), it was made out to be the best book that anyone would pick up all year long.  I will say that it’s immensely imaginative, and beautifully written.  I liked Morgenstern’s style, and she paints an extraordinary picture.  When you’re immersed in Le Cirque des Reves, you can’t mistake the splendor of the setting, or the innate beauty of its entertainers.  The book is about magic, as I’m sure you’ve heard.  Two “opposing” children, Celia and Marco, are raised by extraordinary (and largely cruel) illusionists, in preparation for what is to be a battle to the finish.  The Circus is the battlefield.  The children grow into incredibly powerful (and oddly well adjusted) adults, who are only aware of a pending “Challenge,” and that they are “bound” to another.  What they do not know until the end is that only one can be left standing.  They meet.  Cue the romance music.  Toss a monkey wrench into the overall plan.

The trouble is that after the first quarter of the book (strong start), I found myself feeling detached from the protagonists.  That’s not to say that you won’t like Celia and Marco – you will.  You’ll want them to go after their “fathers/teachers” and not one another.   I won’t give away too much, but I will note that I came to enjoy other characters in the book more than the main two.  I adored Poppet and Widget (twins), and I found myself looking forward to anything involving Tsukiko, the contortionist.  Morgenstern goes to impressive lengths to provide detail to her characters, but then she seemed to gloss over the actual Challenge.  She also paints such vivid images of the Circus that at times I thought I was reading a screenplay.  (The rights were purchased long ago… coming soon to a theater near you.)  I wanted this to live up to what it was touted to be, which was a “fierce competition.”  It wasn’t.  Overall, I’m giving The Night Circus 3.5 stars, because it’s a very creative read, but it’s just not the page-burner that I was anticipating.