Monday, August 8, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Le Cirque des Reves, the Circus of Dreams, is like no other.  A truly magical experience awaits all who enter.  But it's no ordinary circus.  The circus is in fact the arena for two magicians, Celia and Marco.  Celia and Marco have been trained since childhood, learning magic in two very different ways.  Now they compete against each other.  Neither player is aware that in order for someone to win, the other player must die.

I enjoyed this very much, even though at some points I had trouble following it.  The magical world was incredibly complex.  I'd probably have to read it more than once to really catch everything.  Celia and Marco have learned magic in completely different ways, and I'm not sure I fully understood either of them.  Marco's style seemed carefully planned, and Celia's was much more intuitive.  They were both way more complex and nuanced than that, but I don't really know how to explain it because I don't think I really understood it!  I wanted to understand though, and it certainly kept me engaged as I tried to work everything out.

The book also doesn't go completely in sequence.  It goes back and forth between Celia and Marco's story, which goes from 1873-1902, and is interspersed with the story of Bailey, which begins in 1897.  It isn't clear at first why we're learning about Bailey.  He's just a kid who goes to the circus when it comes to town and really loves it.  It isn't revealed until much, much later how he's connected to everything.  The out-of-sequence telling of the story adds to the confusion, but also to the mystery of the story and to the circus itself.  There were lots of "Ohhh, now I get it" moments as another piece of information was given that cleared up something I'd read five chapters ago.

While this is not YA, it's definitely in the adult genre, I can see it appealing to a young adult audience as well.  The descriptions of the circus are magical and exciting, there's a great fantasy aspect, and the appeal of doomed love.

The Night Circus comes out September 13.


  1. This format sounds like A Visit from the Good Squad, which is the only aspect of that book I liked. But it's not depressing, is it? The "doomed love" part makes me think that maybe it is?

  2. No, I wouldn't say it's depressing. Serious. There aren't really any funny parts. It actually has a sort of happy ending even.

  3. These little chapters enable you to feel that you are there experiencing the Circus yourself. They are dreamy and evoke the Circus beautifully. I was sad when I got to the end of the book because I wanted to linger a bit longer among the black and white tents of the mysterious and magnificent Le Cirque des Reves. The Night Circus is a fantastical book with rich prose, superb characters, and a mesmerizing story. Once touched by Le Cirque des Reves you will never forget it. I give The Night Circus 5 Qwills. Originally posted at The Qwillery


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