Hi friends! The Night Circus has been on the top of my TBR list for over six months now, no joke, so I’m so glad I finally got around to it! I hope you all are having a good start to the new year! I’ve been busy starting to work from home full-time and beginning to plan my wedding (!!), so all’s good on this end. Anyways, enjoy the review!
Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
The Night Circus is Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel. The circus arrives without warning. It is open only at night, and at any moment it may be gone without a trace. Within, black and white tents abound, and at the stunning center are two magicians. Behind the scenes, these two students of magic, Marco and Celia, are locked in a duel in which (unknown to them) only one can emerge victorious. Despite their circumstances, Marco and Celia soon find themselves falling in love.
This was a great, fun read. I really enjoyed myself the whole time despite the fact that it took me a long time to get through. Although the romance was weaker than I had hoped and the pacing was slow at times, the environment and atmosphere were so beautiful and well developed and described that I felt entirely transported.
I think this novel’s greatest asset is its atmosphere and world building. The sensory immersion I felt and the levels of escapism I experienced are pretty unmatched among the books I’ve read recently. I went online to two awesome bookish candle sites (BriarWick and Wick & Fable) and bought a candle from each of them inspired by this book because I just needed to smell and experience it for myself. As a great lover of atmosphere and descriptive writing, I think this detail makes The Night Circus worth the four stars I gave it all on its own, but perhaps I should be a more critical judge (haha).
Morgenstern does a lovely job of making the settings and magic system whimsical and mysterious. I also enjoyed the fact that we as readers didn’t fully know what the competition was or fully entailed until more than halfway through the book. That element of prolonged suspense and intrigue was one of the aspects that kept me engaged and reading throughout.
The biggest downside that I had to this read was that I felt the romance between Celia and Marco erred on hollow and ingenuine. Now, I’m already not the biggest fan of romance, but one of the things I really value when reading it is a slow and gradual build up to the relationship; believability is huge. There just weren’t enough encounters and small moments between Celia and Marco to build up to this grandiose relationship the two of them have together. Of course, this wasn’t an absolute deal-breaker for me, but just something I would have like to have been expanded upon for a more invested romance.
On a smaller side note that I don’t want to get too deep into, the magic system – mainly, the interplay between magicians and people who don’t use/believe in the existence of real magic. It appears within the canon of the story that anyone has the ability to learn and use magic with proper training and information, but that only this small specific group of people have access to and actively use magic (and the rest of the world is seemingly oblivious). We should also apparently disregard the fact that the magic performed at the circus is so clearly magic and impossible to excuse in any other way, yet no patrons question this despite the fact that no one believes in magic. Oh well.
Rating & Final Thoughts
Although I was worried about this novel not living up to the hype, I’m glad that I’m able to rate The Night Circus 4 out of 5 stars. I think that lovers of atmospheric and whimsical books and light fantasy should absolutely check this one out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Don’t go in expecting an intricate and fully developed romance, but the book is good enough in other aspects that that shouldn’t deter you.
Buy The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern here.*
*as a reminder, I am an Amazon affiliate and make a small commission off of purchases made using my link.