The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusI know I’ve said this in the past, but it holds true; I do not know how to review a book I loved. And boy howdy, do I love this book. I love it hard. I love it long time. There is such a fine balance I strive to find. I want it to sound as irresistible as I found it, but not so much that it won’t live up to the hype. And boy howdy, is this book getting hype. 

I feel like this book was made for me. I don’t normally like circuses, mainly because I detest clowns, but this circus…this circus is special. It’s unlike anything I have ever encountered in my life, be it in real life, or in print. And oh, how I would love to encounter it in real life.

You see, this circus is special. Magical. Morgenstern’s imagination, it was set free, let run wild, and the things it came up with…just breathtaking. 

Ah, but I’m gushing a bit. Let me tell you what the book is about.

Two old magicians have, for many, many years, pitted magicians against each other in a contest of skill and, well, it’s a contest of nature vs. nurture, in a way. Celia is a young lady born with talent. Marco is a young man born with the aptitude to learn. Each magician takes his charge and trains their young charge so that one day, they will compete in a battle of magic until there is only one left standing.

The circus is the stage for their battle.

Le Cirque des Rêves. The Circus of Dreams.

Yet, the trick is on the old boys, for Celia and Marco go and do the unexpected. They fall in love.

How will they survive this contest of wills between their masters with their love, and their lives, still intact? What will become of the circus, a symbol of their love and fascination with each other.  For true love or not, the game must be played. It must be completed. The fates of everyone involved and many of the circus’s fans, depend on the outcome of this deadly game. 

You may be surprised when I say it wasn’t the circus, it wasn’t the characters, it wasn’t even the story that made me fall in love with this book. They played a huge part, but it was the writing. The sheer joy of reading the words as Morgenstern laid them out. The beautiful language, the evocation of senses her words evoked in me, the descriptions, the adverbs, the nouns, the letters…all of it combined to create what was, for me, a magical experience all it’s own. I don’t think I’ve ever read another book quite like it. I know I’ve never read another book that made me feel quite like how The Night Circus did. No, I take that back, it is akin to how The Graveyard Book makes me feel. It makes me feel like I’ve come home. The Graveyard Book replaced The Princess Bride years ago as my absolute favorite book. After a few rereads, I’m not sure that The Night Circus won’t push it aside.

That isn’t to say the book doesn’t have its problems. They are just so few and far between that I didn’t care. You know how when you read, or watch, or do something, things jump out at you that bother you, but then when you look back, you don’t remember them? You only remember the good and that’s what you loved, so it becomes something you loved? That’s kind of how I feel. I don’t even remember what the few, infinitesimally small problems I had with this book. I’m sure someone has catalogued them somewhere. I mainly mention it to perhaps assure those on the fence that The Night Circus isn’t a perfect book and that you shouldn’t expect it to be so. Anyway, I hope I haven’t over hyped the book. I have really tried to hold myself back. I’m not even going to tell you to read it. I’m sure you know at this point whether you want to or not. 

So, I have to ask, if you have read the book; which tent was your favorite? I think this is probably a question many readers are asking each other. I know I want to know. Mine? It was the tent of scents. It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely adored Poppet and Widget., but that tent. It spoke to me.

Oh, and I am so making myself a red scarf as soon as I finish a few other projects on my knitting needles and crochet hooks.

Favorite quotes:

You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their book and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.

“Stories have changes, my dear boy,” the man in the grey suit says, his voice almost imperceptibly sad. “There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need to recue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficulty to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep overlapping and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there in no telling where and of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act? Though perhaps it is a singular wolf who goes to such lengths as to dress as a grandmother to toy with its prey.”

“He goes directly to the ballroom, making his way to the center of the dance floor. He takes Celia’s arm, spinning her away from Herr Thiessen.

Marco pulls her to him in an emerald embrace, so close that no one distinction remains between where his suite ends and her gown begins. To Celia there is suddenly no one else in the room as he holds her in his arms. But before she can vocalize her surprise, his lips close over hers and she is lost in wordless bliss.

Marco kissed her as though they are the only two people in the world. The air swirls in a tempest around them, blowing open the glass doors to the garden with a tangle of billowing curtains. Every eye in the ballroom turns in their direction. And then he released her and walks away. By the time Marco leaves the room, almost everyone has forgotten the incident entirely. It is replaced by a momentary confusion that is blamed on the head or the excessive amounts of champagne. Herr Thiessen cannot recall why Celia has suddenly stopped dancing, or when her gown has shifted to its current deep green. “Is something wrong?” he asks, when he realizes that she is trembling.”

iconThe Night Circus: A Novel
By Erin Morgenstern
Pub. Date: September 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover , 400pp
SBN-13: 9780385534635
The publisher provided my copy of this book, but my opinions are definitely my own. Plus I’m going to get my own hardbound copy as soon as humanly possible.

They read it too: S. Krishna’s Books | Fyrefly’s Book Blog | The Book Lady’s BlogAlison’s Book Marks | Book Monkey | Fantasy Book Critic | Good Books and Good Wine | Hooked on Books | Fizzy Thoughts

14 thoughts on “The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. YAYYYY! I'm so glad you loved it as much as I did, and I think you did a WONDERFUL job reviewing it. Much better than my review, in fact. Nicely done!

  2. YES!! I'm so happy to read this! I loved this book soooooo much! I'm not sure I can even pick a favorite tend. Probably the pool of tears. The meaning behind that one just meant so much! I'm hoping to find the right clothes and the right scarf to go as a reveur for Halloween this year. 🙂

  3. Ohhh, favorite tent's a hard one. I think I'd have to say the Cloud Maze, although I'd definitely be one of the types who spend more time wandering than staying in any one tent.

    And, like Amanda, I'm planning on going as a rêveur for Halloween. I don't expect anyone at the party to get it, but if someone does, it'll be a neat bonus. 🙂

  4. The writing is a big reason why I loved this book so much, too. Morgenstern does a great job enabling the reader to actually see and smell the circus, even if the characters aren't as well developed as I would have liked.

  5. Hey, I am currently making a red scarf, so maybe I should read the book before I finish? 🙂

    I have a copy of this one, but I can't bring myself to read it yet. There has been too much hype. I'll get to it eventually, though, and I'm curious to see how I'll feel about it!

  6. I absolutely adored this book too! It makes me happy to hear about how it spoke to others the same way it spoke to me. I was actually a little sad when I was done reading it, and I plan to start re-reading it again in a couple more days. Her writing was beautiful and the scenes she created were pure magic.

    As for favorite tent…what an impossible question! But probably the Ice Garden. I just love the visual of how it would come to life within a tent.

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