Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Night Circus by 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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
This book! Oh my goodness, I adored The Night Circus! This was one of those books that once I was done with it I couldn’t pick up another. It’s been a long time since I was affected by a book like this. It will be a re-read at some point in my future I’m sure. I will add though that not everyone has the same feelings about this book. 25% of the Goodreads ratings are 3 star or lower.  I was surprised by this however it does have a slow start and you have to offer yourself fully into Erin Morgenstern’s writing. If you can get lost in the words you will love this book. This is going to be the type of review where I probably just ramble as I have no words to properly portray my love or a summary for this book.

Side note: This story isn’t about the characters, though, obviously there are characters involved. This is a story about a THING, about an ENTITY, and a magical world so enticing you won’t want to miss it.

~Spoiler Free Review~

Writing: Not many authors can write a piece that completely transports you to another world nothing like the one we know. Morgenstern was able to do this for me. I felt like I was really there, that I was experiencing the circus like all other attendees. The Circus is imaginative and full of aspects that make a well-rounded story. There is affection. There is companionship. There is hope.  There is betrayal. I have never been taken on a journey to a Circus the way Morgenstern did. This was completely new territory for me. I got the feels and I got the chills. This book is definitely heavier on world building than character building, which I enjoyed in this case. I would pick up another book by Morgenstern in a heartbeat based on her writing here alone.

World: Hopefully I can give you some insight on how astounding this world is. I think the aspect of writing that was best executed here was that Morgenstern used ALL of ones senses to be immersed in the story. I could see the Circus, I could smell the Circus, I could hear the Circus, and I could taste the Circus. I loved how every time Morgenstern brought me to the Circus there was new stuff to see and smell and hear and taste. I loved the color scheme and found it very easy to visualize everything especially when there are only ever three colors your imagination could run with. In my mind, it was sophisticated, balanced, and marvelous.  I loved the attention to detail in all of the tents. They were so creative, so stunning…

Characters:  I could feel the respect, tension, love, and fear between characters. I adored both Celia and Markus. I think their story is so unique. I know some people have said that they think this book has a slow start, especially between these characters, but I actually grew to appreciate it. It was lovely to not experience some hard-core insta love for once. In the end this made their story that much more heart-wrenching. I think the hardest part about the story to grasp is that for the majority of it the main characters are lost, which in turn means you are lost as a reader. This to me is good writing and character portrayal.

I loved Bailey and the twins! Seriously, there are SO many characters… all crucial as this story unfolds.  

Plot: Honestly, I was very confused at first with all the hopping around between places and times and characters. However… once the pieces started falling together I couldn’t put it down. This is one book that I bet gets better with each re-read. There is so much that I’m sure I missed in the initial chaos of the book.  I will say that even with a slow start, this book has no filler. Every situation has meaning. Each interaction has consequences. Each description has significance.

I have never experienced anything like The Night Circus before and in a way, I hope that I never do again. The best way I can explain it is like this: there will never be another Hogwarts. I knew as I read the Harry Potter books that this is it, this is the story that trumps all of its kind. No witchcraft/wizardry books will every top J.K. Rowling’s world and characters (in my opinion). That’s how this book is. No magical circus book will EVER beat this one for me.

Overall, this is my favorite book so far this year and definitely is going in my top books of all time. I understand why some say it has a slow start but please, push through. You will be so very happy that you did! I saw another review that said it the best: “I'm not ready for real life yet. I want the magic to linger just a little longer.” Perfection. 

It was amazing.
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