Book Review: The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

ncOh. You guys.

You must read this book.

Correction: This book won’t be for everyone. And it won’t be for every mood you’re in, but when you hit the right time, and the right mood, this book will knock you off your feet and sweep you up into a gloriously strange and powerful world.

The Night Circus is not strictly historical fiction, but it takes place at the turn of the 20th century.

The Night Circus is not strictly fantasy, but between it’s pages is an inexpressible magic, both in the words themselves and woven through the fabric of the circus, manipulated by people who once loved it and eventually want nothing more than to be free from it.

Celia and Marco have a beautiful romance. It is simple and sweet, without the hangups and complications that modern romances often have, and yet the consequences of their romance are far greater than a traditional romantic pairing. It goes beyond the Romeo and Juliet set up, so that their being together could destroy every one around them, and even the circus itself. The reader can’t imagine not being on their side against the people manipulating them.

And the circus itself. Think of all the worlds you love: maybe it’s Narnia, or Hogwarts, or another place that you have seen perfectly clearly as you read and have wished you could go to, even once. Le Cirque des Reves is this for me. The writing is glorious, the tents and displays and exhibitions described so that the reader feels the words coming to life and is afraid to look up lest it all melt away. Morgenstern is an excellent sensory writer, and brings the sights, sounds, and smells together to form the perfect, mysterious, beautiful place of dreams.

If you’re looking for action – guns and fights and raging speeds – or for steamy romance, or for something tangibly terrifying, you won’t find it here. What you will find is love that is determined to find a way, but not at the expense of everyone else. You’ll find characters each with a distinct history, powerful secrets, and unique passions. You’ll find the kind of fear that sits quietly with you, fear that demands you continue to hope for the best.

The Night Circus is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and possibly in many years. Normally I fly through books, but this one I savored for more than a week. It’s a fairytale for grownups, in the most powerful sense. Read it.



2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

  1. Aha! You’ve read it!

    Now next time we’re in the same state and city, let’s gush about it for a full day. I gave it to my sister-in-law for Christmas in hopes that someone I know off-the-internet can share my enthusiasm…

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