Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
Published by Doubleday
Publication date: September 13, 2011

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern is the story of two magicians, Celia and Marco, each raised by different powerful magicians to compete against each other.  Their venue, the Night Circus, is a fantastical place where each magician competes by adding new and amazing tents, trying to out-do each other.  Every detail of the circus is amazing and fascinating and it gradually attracts a following around the world.  As in all good stories, a Problem arises and  Celia and Marco must find a way to save the circus and themselves.

For the most part I enjoyed The Night Circus.  The plot moved along and a good pace and the story unfolded nicely.  I really enjoyed the world that Erin Morgenstern created - grounded in reality, but with a magical twist.

However I felt the character were a little weak.  Both Celia and Marco seem so stoic that it's almost not believable.  They have a warmth to them and their love story is somewhat believable, but they still felt a little two-dimensional.  Other characters, like Isobel the tarot card reader, begin as very strong characters but just seem to fade out without really completing their character arc in a believable way.  For example, Isobel is supposed to be in love with Marco, but he's just not that into her.  Even though she spends years loving him and thinking that he has some feelings for her, she takes the news that he's really in love with Celia so well that I just couldn't believe it.

(You know, it's funny that I'm willing to suspend disbelief that this magical circus travels all over the world and that these two magicians to all of these amazing things, but when characters don't act like a normal human being THEN I have a problem?)

But really, is The Night Circus about the love story or is it really about the circus itself?  The most developed character in the book is the circus itself.  It has an arc from inception to near-destruction to new life.  We see how the circus affects those who work within it and those who experience it from the outside.  We see how the circus hangs heavy on those who created it and the sacrifices that others make to keep it alive.  And maybe that's why the book isn't called Celia, Marco and the Night Circus, because it's the circus that's the real center of the story.  The rest of the characters are just the poles, fabric and ropes that hold the tents in place.

Rating: 7/10

Book Source: purchased

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