Review: The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Anchor Books

Length: 391 pages

Source: used bookstore

Celia and Marco have been bound together since they were children, even if they’ve never met. The students of two powerful magicians each determined to prove his way of teaching is best, Celia and Marco were entered into a competition in which one must prevail.

The venue is a circus. This circus arrives at night without warning and is full of unimaginable delights. Le Cirque de Reves has been designed to be the most unique experience in the world, and it gathers followers wherever it goes. The people in the circus are bound to it more deeply than they know, and the circus’s very existence is tied into the competition and Celia and Marco. When the two finally meet, the outcome was unforeseen by their teachers and puts the lives of the performers and patrons in a precarious balance.

I apologize for the terrible summary, but this book is so hard to explain without ruining the utter magic. I feel like I’m waking from a beautiful dream after reading this book. Everything about it is wonderful: the language, the imagery, the characters, the plot. I love this book. I was hesitant to read it, and I’m not sure why. I thought it might be too fantastical for me, even though it takes place in this world. But I still hesitated until I found a near pristine copy at the library bookstore and decided to give it a try.

I’m so glad I did. I fell instantly in love with the mystery of the circus. I could not only picture it, but I felt like I was walking among the black and white tents, seeing the contortionist and acrobats and, later, the more fantastical elements that I’ve never seen.

The characters were vivid as well. Celia was my favorite as I was drawn to her suffering and serene nature. She was so peaceful, even with everything she’d gone through. I loved her relationships with other characters, especially Thiessen, whom I wish we’d gotten more of. But, honestly, I loved all the characters and want more of all of them.

For all the magic and beauty of the book, the characters were very real and complex. I understood their motives and inner lives and felt for them while they tried to navigate their place in the world. This is a beautifully written book with a wonderful story. It’s truly a magical journey.