nightcircus Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: September 13th 2011
Pages: 387
Genre(s): Fantasy
Purchase: The Book Depository | Amazon
❝ The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfalll Closes at Dawn As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears. Le Cirque des Reves The Circus of Dreams. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter. ❞
The Night Circus captured my attention from beginning to end, dragging me into the dreamlike Victorian world of magic and mystery. A black and white place where peculiar things happen, but there is no apparent need to explain them because the beauty itself is enough.

The reason the book enraptured me the way it did is mostly because of the descriptions and imagery. Erin Morgenstern has a way of describing settings, characters and situations that makes it really easy to envision everything, to see all of it in your mind when you close your eyes. I could picture the black and white-themed circus opening at night, the mysterious but eerie atmosphere and the great variation of unique acts. More so, I could see the characters moving around in their Victorian up do’s, entertaining the public with their talents. The entire atmosphere and portrayal of the setting was consistent from beginning to end and it made the book come alive for me. Nothing about Morgernstern’s writing style could possibly be improved, it is already so poetic and detailed.

The Night Circus is often criticized for the lack of explanation the author offers. This much is  is true because the reader gets no wiser as to why the challenge occurs, how the magic works, why and how things ended the way they did. Even so, this did not disappoint me in the slightest. The central theme throughout the book was magic, and magic works in such unexpected and strange ways that any attempts at explanations would be futile. Not knowing is part of the mystery in this case.


Unfortunately I agree with many critiques out there that there was too little plot to support the entire book. I think that, as a result, the first half of the book was extremely slow-paced. The main characters barely interacted and very little actually happened. Considering that the book description talks about magic battles, I felt a little bit cheated. The second half of the book was a lot better paced though and contained more action. I feel like the book needed more plot for the number of pages The Night Circus contained, but this is my only criticism. 


Despite this (though serious) flaw, I adored the descriptions, atmosphere and setting because it is unlike anything I’ve read before. It was just complete and right. Though I cared more for some characters than others
(Poppet & Widget mainly), I was invested in the back stories and futures of all characters. When I finished The Night Circus, it was all I could dream about at night. If that isn’t the definition of making an impression, I don’t know what is. 

The Night Circus

8

Characterization

7.5/10

Plot

6.0/10

Writing Style

10.0/10

Pace

6.5/10

Setting

10.0/10

Pros

  • Amazing atmosphere and setting
  • Beautifully written
  • Mysterious, open for interpretation

Cons

  • Lack of plot
  • Inconsistent pace