I finally did it! I finally read the Night Circus! I’m only, what, eight years late to the party?
In Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, Celia and Marco are trained separately to participate in a mysterious contest against each other, set in the strange but glamorous Le Cirque de Reves, a traveling circus that operates at night. As their contest progresses, their relationship changes, they begin to wonder what the purpose of their battles is, and what the fate of the circus will be once one of them wins.
The characters in this are fantastic—well rounded and quirky, each one is different and quickly becomes beloved in their own unique way. I love how they interact, especially Celia and Marco, Bailey and the twins. Tsukiko is also a favorite of mine.
I also adored how much personality the Circus itself has—everything there feels so alive. Morgenstern shapes a rich world that engages all the senses, not only visual. Touch and scent are also vivid here, so the Circus feels tangible. It’s fantastic imagery.
The plot is fascinating too. I wasn’t sure how the separate timelines (one starting in the late 19th century, the other set pretty much exclusively in 1902) affected each other, but as the stories progress, things begin to converge in brilliant, unexpected ways. It’s a satisfying story to watch unfold, brought together with skill and innovation. It’s amazing that this is Morgenstern’s first published novel.
In the end, The Night Circus is a beautiful story, with so much atmosphere, romance, and magic. The characters feel alive, as do the settings. I couldn’t predict where the story was heading, but as it progressed, it felt as if this is the only way it could have gone. This is definitely a book I’ll want to reread more than once, and definitely deserves all the praise it’s received.
Overall rating: 9/10
Also, Erin Morgenstern recently signed my book! She’s so sweet and cool and interesting, which makes me love her books even more! If you ever have a chance to meet her, do it!