What a great mash-up of several of my favorite literary ingredients: time-travel with a sophisticated and believable mythology (love it), Regency-styl...moreWhat a great mash-up of several of my favorite literary ingredients: time-travel with a sophisticated and believable mythology (love it), Regency-style drama, complex and interesting characters (both men and women), romance (steamy but not over the top), and throw in some thought-provoking observations about the role of wealth and influence throughout history.
Despite all of this great stuff, I did feel disappointment when I realized about two-thirds of the way through the book that it was going to need a sequel (at least) in order to resolve all of the complicated plot points. I'm somewhat worried that the story will get watered down over the course of several books, if this is indeed the start of a new series. And I just feel sad to set the book down with so many loose ends. There's something satisfying (and increasingly rare) about a well-told story that is complete in one volume. Nevertheless, I loved this book, and I've decided to be optimistic and hope that another book and a return to this world will be just as much fun as The River of No Return. (less)
I both enjoyed this book and thought that I may not be able to finish it -- but I am glad that I did! The setting of the circus itself is the real hig...moreI both enjoyed this book and thought that I may not be able to finish it -- but I am glad that I did! The setting of the circus itself is the real highlight. Very dreamlike and detailed, the author creates an impressive and complex world full of illusion, magic, and style. My difficulty in sticking with it was partly due to the wealth of visual descriptions that, while beautiful, slow down the pace of the story considerably. The story itself is told in alternating voices in non-sequential chapters which can also be disorienting. I think the key is to allow yourself to be immersed in this fascinating and confusing world and try not to worry too much about the precise chain of events. Once I decided to go with the flow and just enjoy the leisurely pace, I found myself sad to leave the Night Circus by the end.(less)
I wanted to like this. I liked the characters with their hidden motivations, and the world of the reform school with its creepy secrets, but... But th...moreI wanted to like this. I liked the characters with their hidden motivations, and the world of the reform school with its creepy secrets, but... But the story just progresses so. very. slowly. The pace reminded me of a daytime soap opera where you can see where the story is headed, pretty much from the title page on -- and even though you want to see the pieces fall into place, it just takes way too long to get there. Lots of slow realizations, clues that aren't quite mysterious enough, and mental rehashing of scenes.
When the climactic revelations finally arrive in the last quarter of the book, I felt like the story kicked into gear and was a lot of fun. I'm on the fence though about whether or not to continue with the series. I liked the characters enough to be intrigued, but if the next one drags its heels like Fallen, then I probably won't bother.(less)
There are some aspects of this book I loved. The main character Julia is a smart 10-year-old living a largely ordinary (but not boring) childhood in e...moreThere are some aspects of this book I loved. The main character Julia is a smart 10-year-old living a largely ordinary (but not boring) childhood in extraordinary times while the world is literally slowing down. She finds that life itself doesn't slow down even as the days and nights grow longer and longer over time. She deals with friendships that crumble and a first love that comes as a surprise, her parents' troubles in their marriage and uncertainty about the future. One of the best things about the story is how unaffected Julia's coming-of-age is in the midst of a global crisis.
However, as much as I loved Julia's story, I felt it lacked a satisfying ending. I didn't necessarily need all of the plot lines to be neatly resolved, but it felt to me like none of them were. Or at least, I couldn't really tell what I should take away from this story. Is Julia's future a hopeful one or doomed? And what is the author saying about our own futures? Perhaps this is a failure of imagination on my part as the reader, but I would have liked a clearer sense of resolution one way or the other. (less)