Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Published: September 13th, 2011
So this book definitely was not what I was expecting and once again I was let down by the hype.
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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.
Check out the full synopsis on GoodReads here.
This book came out in 2011 and I remember people raving about it them. Recently, I heard people talking about their love for this book again and decided to finally pick it up. I enjoy magical realism and the description made the book sound exciting. A magic competition where the opponents fall in love, that sounds awesome right? However, this turned out to be a much slower paced book than I expected.
I’m not a huge fan slow books. The book has to be extra special for a slow one to hold my interest, and this just did not do it for me. I actually put the book down for a solid month before I eventually finished it. My biggest problem with it was the slow pace and the fact that the book had very little conflict. The middle especially dragged. There was just a ton of character development and a slow build romance that did not have me swooning. It also was a long book which did not help the pacing. This was almost a DNF for me, but I powered through to see if the end would put things in perspective. It did, but I was still left a little unsatisfied.
I will say that the writing is beautiful. There are small chapters that are told from the second perspective that gave you the chance to experience this magical circus. The way that Morgenstern describes things is beautiful and unique. Also, the characters were interesting and well developed. I personally loved Celia, Bailey, Widget and Poppet.
At the end of day though this book was just not enough for me. I’ve learned over these past few months that character driven stories that lack an interesting plot don’t work for me. I did appreciate the themes, the characters, and overall message in this book. For that reason I gave it 3 instead of 2 stars. This book was just wasn’t for me. I’d only recommend it if you like the circus or character driven books with pretty writing.