Friday 7 October 2011

Review: The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

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 per¬formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Visit Erin Morgenstern's website for more information

Sometimes a book comes along that will captivate you from the very first page and doesn't let go until you've finished reading it, for me The Night Circus was one of those books.  In fact, when I reached the end I was very tempted to turn back to the first page and start reading it again.  This has to be the most impressive debut I've read in a long time and I can't wait to see what Erin Morgenstern comes up with next, she has a rich imagination and a beautiful writing style that I'm sure will only improve in future books.

The story of The Night Circus begins with two magicians who both have different ideas on the best way to train an apprentice in the art of magic.  They agree to a challenge and decide to pit their trainees against each other in a game that will take years to complete, a challenge that only one of them will survive.  Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams) becomes the setting for his duel with Celia and Marco the unwitting pawns in the game with neither of them knowing the rules or even who their opponent is.  The plot meanders towards the finish line but this book is all about the journey, the circus itself is a wonderful place to spend time in and is so beautifully described that it's like you're really there.  You can see the acrobats and illusionists, you'll smell and taste the popcorn and caramel, you will walk through the labyrinth, spend time in the ice garden and possibly even make a wish at the wishing tree.  I don't think I've ever been so fully transported into another world.

The circus wouldn't be the same without it's fantastic cast of characters, everyone from the performers to the reveurs (people who are so captivated by the circus that they follow it from town to town) have their role to play.  I have to say that I loved the twins Poppet and Widget along with their friend Bailey but most of all I enjoyed seeing Celia and Marco grow into their roles as they tried to compete with each other.  The story skips backwards and forwards in time and gradually unfolds as you start to realise how everything fits together, leading up to a breathtaking finale in a book that you won't want to end.

The Night Circus is a book that I will definitely be re-reading and I know I will be recommending it again and again to friends and family.  I wish I could wipe the experience of reading it from my mind just so that I could pick it up and enjoy it for the first time all over again.  If you want to be transported to a different world to experience the joys of the circus as if you were a child again then I would highly recommend this story.  This will definitely make my best books of 2011 list and Erin Morgenstern has become an automatic buy author for me in the future.

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
The Oncoming Hope
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. Oh I've this one in my TBR pile, I'm glad you liked it, I can't wait to start it ! Thanks for the review !

  2. I'm listening to the audio book of this right now and it is FANTASTIC! Awesome review! I'm really curious to see how everything fits together! Glad to know it'll make sense eventually! :)

  3. I can't wait to read this one. I am so excited by this book.

  4. I must get to this book. Your review is magical - it's made me wonder why it's still on my tbr pile.

  5. Everything I've read about this book makes me really excited to read it!

  6. @ Melliane - I really hope you love this one as much as I did! It's such a good book :o)

    @ Lily Child - I'd quite like to listen to this as an audiobook so I'll be interested to read your review of it. The trouble is that I tend to get easily distracted when I'm listening to books & suddenly realise I stopped listening 10 minutes ago lol.

    @ Viv - this is soooooo good, I'm sure you'll love it! Looking forward to reading your review

    @ Essjay - it is such a magical story Sarah, I really loved it and hope you do too. I'll look forward to hearing what you think of it :o)

    @ Clover - it's a beautiful book so I hope you love it as much as I did, I'll watch out for your review!

  7. I was actually quite disappointed with the book.

    There were too many descriptive passages that didn't add anything to the story, and actually distracted from the circus itself.

    My review is here, if you are interested:

  8. @ theoncominghope - it's a shame you didn't enjoy this one as much as I did but as we all know not everyone can enjoy the same story :o) I really loved the descriptions & was completely transported to the circus. I've added a link to your review & will go and check it out now

  9. Thanks for the thoughtful Review...........I'm definitely going to check this out....



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