Review: Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | Alexia's Books and Such...: Review: Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: 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 RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

My Thoughts:
This is one of those books that got an awful lot of attention when it first came out, and was even included in the BEA Editor's Buzz panel last year. Everyone raved about it, but I sort of shrugged as it didn't sound like my type of book. A story about a circus? That's only open at night? Uh-huh.... But apparently the book gods wanted me to read it, as this is one of the few unsolicited books I've ever received from a publisher. 

Well, I finally read it and now understand why it got so much attention. It's a lovely story with lovely writing, but....I still found myself shrugging.  Looks like my initial instinct was right and this just wasn't for me. I could appreciate the writing and the author's talent, but I was a little bored at times and the pacing was a bit on the slow side for me.

Despite the pacing issue, there are several things going on during the story. The main storyline concerns a bet made between two powerful magicians, who train their proteges for a duel. The Night Circus comes into being as the "stage" for the duel, but it's not your usual duel as the two proteges don't even know each other's identity at first.

So we get to know the two young magicians, the circus creators, the groupies, the performers, and the circus herself. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but it never got too confusing even with the multiple POVs. It did drag in places for me, but I may be getting too used to the faster pace of urban fantasy.

Gave this one a 3/5 as while I did appreciate the wordplay, I found myself bored in spots. I have a problem with stories set in the past for some reason. The descriptions were quite lovely and the circus sounded like a magical place, but I think I'm becoming too cynical to appreciate such quiet gems.

Have you read The Night Circus? Would love to know if you had any problems with the pacing and/or got bored like I did. I'm starting to worry that I'm developing Reading ADD....

18 comments:

  1. I agree with you 100% on this book. The descriptions of the circus were amazing and evocative, but my problem with it was that it seemed like an awful lot of telling, not showing, and there wasn't a lot of character development. I never bought the romance element because Marcus and Celia were complete ciphers to me. I read it because of my book club, and the others liked or loved it, whereas I was pretty neutral on it.

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    1. You're right about the romance between Marcos and Celia, as it didn't convince me either. :(

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  2. I agree as well, although I picked it up and expected to like it quite a bit. The descriptions were fantastic, but I actually think that there were some elements that just weren't meant for the book medium. I didn't dislike the book, but yeah...it didn't wow me either.

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    1. Glad to know I'm not alone, as this one got so many great reviews!

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  3. Aaah, I've been waiting for this review. I've been very curious to see what you thought of it. Like you, I've heard many great things about it too. Thank you for the honest review here. :)

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  4. I love the quiet gems, I really do. This book swept me away.

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    1. I can appreciate the quiet gems, but think I prefer the faster paced stories. :)

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  5. This is one I've been meaning to read for a while because there's just something about circuses that I really adore. Maybe it's the mystery. Though I have to admit that until now I never knew what the story was actually about!

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    1. Not that big of a circus fan. I enjoyed going to them when I was younger, but haven't been in years.

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  6. Having seen this on so many blogs I felt compelled to add it to my wish list but now I'm beginning to wonder if I should just borrow it from the library. Thanks for such an honest review Alexia.

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    1. It did receive tons of great reviews, but I think you'd be better off borrowing it from the library. It is beautifully written, but just wasn't my cup of tea...

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  7. Oh, gosh! I totally feel like I have reading ADD! I bought this one because everyone was raving about it and it did sound interesting but I'm nervous that it will be a little slow. I hope not!

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    1. I was really getting worried that I had reading ADD because I hit a string of mediocre books that just couldn't keep my interest. But then I hit a lucky patch and my last couple of books were great! It's a great feeling to love reading again!

      Will be curious to see what you think of this one, so will keep an eye out for your review!

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  8. Aww! It's too bad that you found some boring bits.

    Still, nice review. =)

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  9. My teen daughter just finished reading (and really enjoyed!) an eBook called Hear by Jacqueline Abelson. Great plot, interesting characters and a real message of self– empowerment. Here’s the link:

    http://www.amazon.com/HEAR-ebook/dp/B0084V2WVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337991481&sr=1-1

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  10. For whatever reason, I can't talk myself into this one. I'm thinking I shouldn't hurry.

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  11. Hmm...yeah, I've heard all the buzz on this one too. Lovely cover but don't think it'd be a good fit for me either. KUDOS for giving it a try though! ^_^

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