REVIEW ✧ THE NIGHT CIRCUS

“People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.”

☆☆1/2

 

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.

There is honestly nothing worse than being so unbelievably excited to read a book and it doesn’t follow through. This was one of those times. Why do I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t like this book? I’m looking at what my friends on Goodreads have all thought about this book and it seems like they all loved it. Am I missing something? Well, whatever it is, this book did not turn out the way I expected it to and I’m really sad about it. I was hoping to get some kind of epic love story that goes from the always fantastic enemies-to-lovers but I barely even got the love story. Actually, now that I think of it, I don’t think I really got much of anything out of this book. There were certain things I liked, sure, but there were equally as many things that I did not like and makes me think that I got played by this overhyped book. Eh, it wouldn’t be the first time this happened to me and I doubt it’ll be the last.

THE GOOD

  • By far, my favourite thing to come from this book was the Circus itself. Every time Morgenstern would describe the Circus and all the various tents it felt like I was literally transported there and was seeing all of it for myself. I could feel how magical and special it was and I loved all the detail that was put into it. The best thing, in my opinion, was how there were little introductions to certain sections where it was described how you’d enter the circus and venture from one tent to another, like it was your own personal narrator. It felt so unbelievably vivid and real, as if I was really seeing the Circus with my own eyes. It was through that and everything else where the Circus was involved that I thought Morgenstern’s writing truly shined. I just wish we spent more time in the Circus because it was really the best part of the book.
  • All things considered, I enjoyed most of the characters of this book. There were a couple that I could’ve lived without, which I’ll get to later, but I thought Marco, Celia, Poppet and Widget, and eventually Bailey, were all great characters and all had important parts to the story. If I had to pick favourites I’d probably go for the twins and I really love what they added to this book. It felt like these five characters in particular all had a special love and affinity for the Circus and the magic they all brought to it was what separated them from the rest. Celia and Marco represented the beginning and creation of the Circus, the twins represented what the Circus can create, and Bailey represented how the Circus makes others feel as well as its future. I think if the book was limited to these five characters only, it might’ve been that much better and special.

THE BAD

  • It honestly felt like there was virtually no plot to this book. Like, if you asked me what this book was about I literally could not tell you because there was never any concrete story to run with. I was about to say you could argue that the Circus was the plot but was it really? Because that was a plot that made an appearance every three chapters or so since the main focus was on this incredibly vague “competition” between Celia and Marco. What it comes down to is the fact that this ghost of a plot was just poorly executed on Morgenstern’s part. I can see what the plot points are but I think that’s all they were and they were never explored like they should’ve been. The competition or challenge was never explained regardless of the many, many times that it was brought up. It makes me think that Morgenstern forgot what the point of it was and kept it vague throughout so she wouldn’t have to actually answer the question herself because none of the characters that knew what the challenge was could actually answer it. I wanted some kind of epic reveal as to what the point was which would then lead to some kind of showdown or wild conclusion but nothing was ever answered. I thought that I was supposed to be confused intentionally but it became a negative confusion and eventually utter dislike.
  • There were far too many time jumps throughout this book that honestly made little to no sense to me, and with those time jumps came so many “POVs” (if we can even call them that) from other characters that I literally could not care less about and I’m sure it looks like these characters and their stories mattered but they really didn’t. Time jumps in general get on my nerves but I really didn’t like how we were all of a sudden thrown into Bailey’s story in a totally different year and were expected to understand what the point was and I think his story and character only mattered near the end of the book. And other POVs like Herr Thiessen and Mr. Barris and the Burgess sisters didn’t add much, if anything, to the story and every time I came back to these characters I just wanted to skip through their chapters or sections. There were far too many characters and plot lines correlating with each other that in the end it got out of hand and relatively messy. It made me stop caring and discouraged my interest in reading this book more than I’d like to admit.
  • I don’t think we can even call this a romance because there was barely any romance to this book at all. The synopsis of this book promised me two things: an exciting game/duel and forbidden true love. I barely got either of these things but the lack of romance really disappointed me. Sometimes even if the plot fails there’s still some hope left that the romance will save it but that definitely didn’t happen here. I swear, Celia and Marco had at the most three interactions and then one time jump later, Marco’s suddenly proclaiming his undying love for Celia and dumping Isobel (who, again, was an unnecessary character). I didn’t feel the love or chemistry between the two and I sure as hell never saw the love between them. It felt more like I was being told that they were all of a sudden in love instead of seeing it happen for myself. This was honestly worse than insta-love because it was something that most likely happened “off screen” and you’re just told that they’re in love and forced to accept it. Sorry, I’m not buying it.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • This is one book that was way too overhyped and not really worth it. I mean, if it was all executed in a different way or it followed through and was actually what the synopsis promised, it would’ve been a better book. But it is what it is. Maybe we should’ve focused less on writing in seductive prose and more on an actual plot but that’s none of my business.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Pages: 512 (Paperback)
Goodreads

Until next time,

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What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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