Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. The GoodReads 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 RĂªves, 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 per¬formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
I’d heard so many good things about this book, that I was a little disappointed when I didn’t love it as much as everyone else seems to. And I’m pretty sure I know why it fell a little flat for me—I never really connected to any of the characters. The book is written in a kind of dreamy, removed style that, while beautiful, kept me from feeling like I ever really knew what the characters were thinking and feeling. It was more like watching a movie than reading a book—I could observed the characters’ actions, but I had to take their word about their motivations because I never got to see inside their heads.

But despite my inability to fully connect with the book, there were couple things that the book did indisputably well. One was the circus itself. The author creates a breathtaking, magical (and I mean that in both the literal and figurative sense) atmosphere at the Night Circus, with its black-and-white color scheme and tents filled with the amazing and unbelievable. I felt like I was really there, because I could practically smell, taste, and see everything the author described. It was all quite spectacular, really.

I also thought the book was brilliant in terms of incorporating two seemingly unconnected stories, spaced years apart, into a cohesive whole. When Bailey’s story first enters the book, it seemed jarring after having spent so much time with Celia and Marco, and I wasn’t sure why it was included. But as Bailey’s story began to slowly intertwine with the main story, I got more and more excited to see how it would all come together. And let me tell ya, when the two stories finally caught up to each other at the very end—it was perfect, and it increased the tension before the story’s climax in a truly wonderful way.

Overall, it was a perfectly good book, I just never felt that connection that I need to really love a story.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

3 comments:

  1. Oh, how I hate it when I can't connect to a character. That can totally ruin a book for me, but I'm glad there were enough elements to enjoy you. The magical atmosphere sounds good :)

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  2. I've been so afraid to read this because it seems like everyone loved it. And I worry sometimes that I won't get what all the fuss is about. So I'm kind of happy you didn't love it, if that makes any sense. I still want to read it at some point, but I'm not in a hurry...

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  3. Hi, cool review! Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-night-circus-by-erin-morgenstern.html

    Thanks and have a very nice day! :)

    ReplyDelete

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