Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2.5/5)

The back says: In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Réves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.

Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the réveurs - the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter's daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer's apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love...

A fabulous, fin-de-siécle feast for the senses and a life-affirming love story, The Night Circus is a captivating novel that will make the real world seem fantastical and a fantasy world real.

I say: I had no idea what this book was about when I borrowed it from the library. All I knew was that it had been all over the place and everybody seemed to love it. Silly as I am, I made the same mistake I make every other month without seeming to learning the golden rule:

Don’t believe the hype.

I didn’t like this at all. In fact, it really bored me, and this was mostly due to Morgenstern’s writing. I found it rather bland and uninspiring. There was no magic in her descriptions, no poetry in her plot and no dimension to her characters. Without reading the synopsis, as I rarely do, I instantly understood that Celia and Marco were destined to fall in love – boring and predictable; as was the rest of the plot. Not to mention that nothing really happens in the first half of the book, save descriptions of the circus.

At around page 200 I was wondering whether it was worth continuing, or if I should just give up.

I stuck with it; and perhaps that was a good idea since it got better at the end, but only because there were far more things happening.  I figured out how it was going to end, even though I didn’t know the particulars, and that kind of disappointed me.

I don’t like predictable ends.

Having said all that, I can see why this has been so popular, but this isn’t the type of literature that I enjoy, so I was destined not to like this; and if I’d only taken the time to read the synopsis I could have saved myself a lot of tedium.


  1. I was initially avoiding this too because of the hype and finally decided to give it a go. Unlike most people, I wasn't blown away. I liked the circus descriptions and if such a circus existed, of course I'd want to go! But was it amazing? Not to me, no.

    1. I agree, the descriptions of the circus and the acts sounded amazing, but the story itself was too predictable and just not my cup of tea. And yes, I would definately go to that circus all nights it was in my town.