Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

In The Night Circus, Marco and Celia were selected as children to take part in a competition that tests their magical abilities. They were trained separately by two old magicians, but neither knows who their opponent is, what the rules are, or even what the game is. As time goes on, they discover one another and fall in love. They then start treating the game as a collaboration rather than a competition. All of this is going to make the endgame a little more complicated.

I enjoyed this book, but didn't love it. When I first heard that this book dealt with magic, I was so excited. I love magic! I know I'm being fooled, but I love it anyway. Once I discovered, though, that the magic Marco and Celia were doing was real and not illusions, it sort of lost its draw for me. I still liked the premise and the story, but the magic (pun intended) was gone.

Scattered throughout the book was little vignettes describing the different aspects of the circus. Because they are written in the second person (using "you"), it made me feel like I was actually at this circus. I quite enjoyed that.

Now that I think about it, I think maybe I put too much stake in the magic aspect of this book. Perhaps if I hadn't been so excited about that part I might have enjoyed the story more when it didn't work out as I hoped. Also, the story may have just been beyond me (too complicated or something) for me to truly get. I'm saying that because I don't really think I fully understood this book.

For example, I was quite bewildered by the section called "Intersections". It contained various chapters with dates one year apart. Alternating between the two time periods that were so close didn't make sense to me. I bet there were some subtleties in the story that I missed that might have cleared up my confusion over this section.

Favourite quote:
There is more to it than you think. ...Everything you do, every moment of the day and night is a move. You carry your chessboard with you, it is not contained within canvas and stripes. Though you and your opponent do not have the luxury of polite squares to stay upon. (page 306)
New words:
proscenium (page 73): front of the stage
eiswein (page 123): sweet white wine

Even though I didn't love the book like I thought I would, I'd still highly recommend this book.

For more information about this book, please visit the Random House website.
For more information about the author, please visit Erin Morgenstern's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at Random House for this review copy.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Doubleday Canada (Random House), ©2011. ISBN 9780385671612(Hardcover), 387p.


  1. Its too bad that you were disappointed by this book. I think it helped me that I had no clue what I was getting into when I started. I loved it! I agree that there were a lot of intricacies - I think it's a good book to re-read and I might catch some details the second time.

    I'm hearing talk of a movie. Can't wait.

    You wrote a very fair, balanced review. That's tough to do when you arent totally wild about a book.

  2. I liked it, but didn't love it.

    1. I really enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as others. Morgenstern is obviously a gifted writer to create the world that she did.


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