Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern


The Scoop (Goodreads):

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.

Erin Morgenstern

Website * Twitter * Goodreads Profile

Erin Morgenstern is a writer and artist. Most of her writings and paintings are fairy tales, in one way or another. She lives in Massachusetts.

About Erin. The long, first person version: (Edited here - For full version, check out her website. It's great!)

I grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Steve Carrell now owns the store where I bought penny candy and blue raspberry Slush Puppies as a child. This both amuses and disturbs me.

I was reading Stephen King at age 12 and J.K. Rowling at age 21. This likely speaks volumes about my literary development.

I write. Fantastical, fairy tale-esque things with magic and mystery and tea.

My fiction tends to be location-driven. Nocturnal circuses, subterranean libraries, townhouses dressed up as pirate ships. I got tired of living in Alice’s Wonderland and decided to build some of my own.
I write 10-sentence flash fiction pieces inspired by photographs that are posted to the blog every Friday. They are fondly known as flax-golden tales.

I spent large amounts of the last few years painting a black & white tarot deck. I finished painting it in early 2010. You can purchase a beautiful limited edition deck of the Major Arcana here. (Well,  you could. It’s sold out now, but they might turn up on tarot trading sites.)

I read a lot. I drink absurd amounts of red wine and even more absurd amounts of tea.

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

“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 that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

“Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it's really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well as yours.”

My Take:

So, Celia and Marco are raised from childhood to be magicians. Not in the pulling-a-rabbit-out-of-a-hat magician (or illusionist), but the real-magic-shooting-from-the-fingers type. Due to their fathers' Machiavellian ways, they are also pitted against each other from childhood in a long, high-stakes contest to see who is the better magician.

Well, don't you look dapper?

The arena for their years-long duel is the magical Night Circus. A curious, beautiful thing that suddenly appears and is only open at night. Morgenstern is such an artist with the written word that is could feel myself becoming more and more immersed in their beautiful, magical world with every turn of the page.

This is a totally different kind of Night Circus...no showgirls or slots at Le Cirque des Rêves. Yet...

Celia and Marco fall for each other eventually and now the race is on to discover a way out of their desperate duel. The characters are well-written, the fathers are cringe-inducing-ly evil and the supporting characters could be novels in their own right.

With The Night Circus, Morgenstern has created a beautiful, ethereal, fragile and lovely world, inhabited with amazing characters that will linger with you for days.

Final Verdict:


  1. I have this one, and I have STILL not read it! I need to move it up on my tbr list.

  2. Morgenstern really is an artist with words, there is something so unique about her style. I'm glad you liked it too !

    Books and Sensibility



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