Five words from the blurb: circus, dark, dazzling, world, imaginative
About six weeks ago a beautiful book dropped through my letter box. I knew nothing about it, but was immediately impressed by the design and the quotes on the cover. Out of curiosity I read the first page and became so hooked that I ended up reading about 150 pages right then and there. Since then The Night Circus seems to have exploded across the Internet. The hype for this book has been phenomenal and I’m quite pleased that I read it on its own merit, before being influenced by the hundreds of reviews already out there. I can see why so many people love this book, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to add a few words to of caution to the piles of praise. This book is very good, but it isn’t perfect.
The Night Circus is a mysterious black and white circus that appears in towns and cities around the world. Open only at night this “Circus of Dreams” contains a magical array of entertainment, with each tent containing more surprising items than the last. The book crosses into the world of magical realism with the acts portrayed, but the incredibly visual descriptions means that this works really well. I am sure that the Night Circus will instantly jump to the top of most readers “places in literature you want to visit” list.
The main problem with this book is that the setting is so strong it swamps everything else. The characters and plot struggle to make themselves noticed against the stunning backdrop of the circus. This meant that by the half way point the book began to run out of steam. The blurb describes magicians battling with each other and I kept thinking of the amazing book, The Prestige, which makes the twists and turns in The Night Circus look insignificant.
The majority of the characters also failed to come alive. They felt like props in the circus rather than real people and so I failed to form a connection to them. This meant that the romance aspect of the novel wasn’t convincing and I became bored by their interactions.
I’m sure that this book will dominate the end of year favourite lists and I do think it will go on to become a modern day classic, but I’m afraid I need a bit more than an amazing setting to keep me entertained. Despite my criticisms I recommend that you read this book – your life will be richer for having read about the “Circus of Dreams” and the ability to re-imagine the magical circus displays will surely add to the quality of your own dreams.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
…..the world that Morgenstern builds is so vivid that you can smell the caramel and popcorn in the air, and so immediately appealing that I would happily spend my life wandering the circus, visiting tent after tent, lost in its secrets. Fyrefly’s Book Blog
……there just isn’t enough quality in the writing to satisfy and however impressive the fireworks feel at the time there’s a great feeling of disappointment once the smoke clears and the soggy architecture is all that remains. Just William’s Luck
The Night Circus is about a world filled with unexpected magic, and Morgenstern uses it to hint at the magic we might find in our world if we were just open to seeing it. The Book Lady’s Blog