Book Reviews

Review: The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern


Published: September 13th 2011 by Random House Audio

Source: Overdrive Audiobook Library

Format: Audiobook

Audiobook Length: 13:40:10

Genre: Adult, Historical Fantasy, Magical Realism, Romance

Synopsis: 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.

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Spoiler Free Review:

The amount of hype this book has is insane. I finally caved and decided to listen to the audiobook of The Night Circus which was very fitting at the time. It was the perfect story to escape and get lost in. Though I didn’t outright love this story, like many others, I still really enjoyed the ride this story took me on.

The audiobook experience was really what made me continue this story. I actually tried to read the physical book, but I couldn’t seem to get into it. Jim Dale’s voice is entrancing, dream like and has a similar vibe as The Raven Cycle audiobooks which are narrated by Will Patton. Erin Morgenstern’s writing style is very atmospheric and flowery and she spends a lot of the time describing the scenery and the lush environment of the circus. It’s definitely not for everyone and if it wasn’t for the audiobook, I probably would give up on this book. In this case, I loved the descriptions because it was easy to imagine the circus and each of the scenes. It was like listening to a movie, playing out in my mind.

On top of the descriptive writing style, the plot is very slow paced. I usually like slower paced stories better, but it was bothering me towards the middle. On top of the pacing, there are huge amounts of time skips and it becomes extremely confusing. There was a point where I had no idea what was going on in terms of the plot. It all connects and makes sense towards the end, but the time skips were so irregular and confusing that it took away from my enjoyment.

The actual duel was completely different than what I was expecting. I waited the entirety of the book for an intense, magical duel, similar to ones in Avatar or Legend of Korra. What I got was pretty disappointing, but it does make sense for a slow burn story. Celia and Marco are the star crossed lovers who must compete with each other in a magical duel. To be honest, I didn’t care much for their story lines. Individually, Celia was devoted and observant, Marco was charming and scholarly. I could feel the chemistry between the two characters, but I didn’t feel it., if that makes any sense. Their love story didn’t entrance me, they were very much the average star crossed lovers. I don’t know if it’s my inability to ship heterosexual relationships easily, or relationships in general. (Probably) That being said, the romance was definitely there, but the story didn’t just revolve around their love story which I appreciated.

The side characters were far more interesting to me. Poppet and Widget were adorable and hilarious with their cute kittens. I had a lot more fun reading about Bailey’s adventures with the twins than Celia and Marco’s chapters. Also, Jim Dale does an amazing Scottish accent. By the end of the book, I realized I would have liked the story a lot more  if it revolved around Tsukiko who was the most interesting character. I would love to read a spinoff about her story.

Overall, The Night Circus was the perfect entrancing story to get me out of the reading slump I was in. I found the best parts to be the audiobook experience and the side characters. This book is not for everyone but if you’re looking for a story to get lost in, if you like The Raven Cycle By Maggie Stiefvater, if you like slow paced stories and magical realism, I would recommend The Night Circus. 

Rating: 3.25/5


One thought on “Review: The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern

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