Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Thoughts: The Night Circus

I only got lukewarm with this book. First of course I was excited to dip into this story of a magical competition and a mysterious circus for a venue. Morgenstern surely has a thing for creating an atmosphere.The black and white tents of the Victorian circus which only opens at nightfall, the quirky magicians in their breathtaking robes and so on. But for me the story lacked in implementation.


The battle of the star-crossed lovers, bound by a magical power they can not overcome, reminded me of The Hunger Games a bit too much. But here unfortunately the battle was never really fought, Celia and Marco built tents containing beautiful things for one another just to impress each other. That's it. No real challenge, which was announced from the start, after all. The romance between the two is meek, as there is always a distance between them, Celia working in the traveling circus and Marco being the assistant of the circus owner, living in London.

The writing was okay, although I always felt like being hold at a distance here too. And although the book should have been all about magic, the part that described actual magic was kept plain. One could say that was done to make place for imagination, but to me it did not feel that way. Almost every time the characters could have revealed anything that could have actually lend to the story, they gave cryptic or evasive answers which only felt self-important to me. Examples?

"Help with what?" Bailey asks, but the fortune-teller does not answer.

"One of them is… somewhere else," Isobel explains. Celia does not question her further.

This is a typical Tsukiko response, one that does not truly answer the question. Isobel does not pry.

"You smile as though you have a secret," he says. "I have a lot of secrets." Celia says, glancing at him over her shoulder, before turning back to the wall.

There are many more.

Altogether I liked the descriptions of the circus and I too feel like it would be an asset if there was a magical place like this. But what happens in the circus should bust the limitations of a normal world as we know it and make place for something more extraordinary.


  1. I just skimmed this review as I haven't read it yet although I plan to. I think when books are hyped this much it's hard for them to live up to their reputation so we can tend to have a lukewarm reaction. Thanks for the honest and balanced review :)

  2. Agree with you a lot - I loved the idea of this b/w themed circus tents - and some of those ideas I really, really adored.. but there were several times in this book when I thought: Ok - when's the real deal going on? I am very much looking forward for the film to come - because I imagine this circus will be great on screen.. ;") Have a great weekend!