Katie(babs)'s Reviews > The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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Aug 26, 11

bookshelves: i-want-to-have-babies-with-the-book
Read from August 21 to 26, 2011

“The circus arrives without warning.” (This may be the most talked about opening line of any book to be published this year.)

The book this opening statement comes from is called The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and one that amazed me in so many ways. All my emotions were engaged as I read. I was enthralled to the point I wanted to curse Erin because I was utterly obsessed with this fantasy world she has created. Words are poetry where the writer is the artist responsible in creating beauty in every line. Erin Morgenstern has done that here and more so with The Night Circus. It’s a ballet on the pages, an intricate spellbinding tale that will leave you breathless as two people, by no choice of their own, are victims of a game set out by two devious individuals. The prize is not certain or guaranteed. What is certain is there can only be one winner, one left standing, while the other wastes away, overcome with madness for the deceit and manipulation that rules their life until they can’t take it anymore and destroy themselves.

The Night Circus is told in first person present tense starting in the year 1873. We meet Hector Bowen, a showman and a magician known to the public as Prospero the Enchanter. One day he is sent a shocking gift- a five year old daughter, Celia, he never knew about. Celia’s mother has killed herself and now Hector is forced to become Celia’s caregiver. At first he has disdain for Celia, but he soon finds out how special and unique she is. He decides he wants to play a game, a competition. The man in the grey suit, sometimes called Alexander, has also played this game before. He and Hector make some sort of bet. Celia will be involved. Alexander must find her competitor. He decides on an orphan boy named Marco. For years Hector and Alexander teach and test their wards to build up their abilities. As the years go by, Celia and Marco’s lives will become intertwined.

When Marco grows into adulthood he meets a young woman, Isobel who can read tarot cards and begins a romance with her that may help him win the game. He becomes a personal assistant to Chandresh, who is indirectly involved in helping start a circus that will only run from sunset to sunrise, known better as the night circus. And then Celia joins the night circus as an illusionist, much like her father once was, but one with so much more talent. And when Celia and Marco finally meet, it’s as if they’re two sides of a coin, each other’s sun and moon. But they both know that they must play the game until it’s finished and only one of them can be the winner, while the loser will give up everything.

The Night Circus spans thirty years, going back and forth between years as we see Celia and Marco build their craft, as well as pull in those around them who are unwittingly forced to participate in the game. The main question is, who’s pulling the strings, manipulating the events involved? A higher power? Hector and Alexander? What if I told you no one? Everything that happens is a game of chance, a series of events that are like dominoes falling to one another. We follow Celia and Marco as they try to figure out their destinies. These two are just as sly and cunning as their “makers”, but refuse to be pawns. Celia and Marco are unwilling participants who want to escape from the invisible chains binding them, but stay connected to each other. You’ll be on the edge of your seat rooting for these two to find a way out.

The secondary characters are so very rich and flavorful. We have the wonder twins, Widget and Poppet, who are as important to the night circus as Celia and Marco is. There’s Bailey, a seemingly average teenage boy who is just as significant. Tsukiko, the circus’s contortionist, is the voice of reason. Everyone here has a specific role, including the ones I haven't mentioned, but they don’t know what it is or what the finale will be when all is said and done.

The Night Circus is a cross genre fan’s delight. This will appeal not only to the YA crowd, but the romance reader and the literary fiction lover. It’s a supernatural, fantasy extravaganza that had me wanting more. When I read the final page, I hugged the book close. Erin has truly written a masterful tale that may span generation of readers.

This was almost a perfect read for me, but one thing I felt cheapened Celia and Marco’s feelings for one another is the Tsukiko’s explanation on why this duo are so connected to one another and have developed a deep abiding love that transcends the stars. In a way, it seems as if the game has manipulated their feelings as well, which I find to be sad. I would like to think Celia and Marco’s love is the real deal.

This is one a smart read where you have to concentrate and be aware of every move and action, much like a chess game. And when all is said and done, you’ll want to be a part of the night circus and never leave. Erin makes sure to pull readers in and not let go, just like the characters who have live and breathe the night circus and have become its soul.

The Night Circus is a magical, dazzling book filled with such heartbreaking and bittersweet angst that almost bought me to tears. If there is one book you read this year, you must read The Night Circus. I want to have babies with this book and cradle it in my arms.

Thank you Erin, for writing what I believe will someday be called a masterpiece. Bravo!
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Reading Progress

08/23/2011
80.0% "Beautiful and haunting writing. Hooked right from the start."

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Lucy Weirdly... there are two different reviews from you here.


Katie(babs) Lucy wrote: "Weirdly... there are two different reviews from you here."

Really? I take it those reviewers didn't like The Night Circus?


Lucy No, I mean there are two different reviews for you on this book. Both positive. For a second I thought you had a doppleganger running around. Now I realize you might've reviewed two different editions and feel a bit slow. Carry on lol.


Katie(babs) Lucy wrote: "No, I mean there are two different reviews for you on this book. Both positive. For a second I thought you had a doppleganger running around. Now I realize you might've reviewed two different editi..."

I just notice this too. I must fix this *shakes fist at GRs*


Lucy What does it say about my trust levels that I thought you had a stalker using your icon and friending your friends?


message 6: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Wright I may have to buy this!


whichwaydidshego? I had to like this just for the shelf you have it on!


Katie(babs) whichwaydidshego? wrote: "I had to like this just for the shelf you have it on!"

:) My baby shelf has many books on it like this one.


message 9: by Celia (new) - added it

Celia haha! I was thinking the exact same thing: best bookshelf EVER ;)


Joelle I just finished reading this. I agree with you. About having babies. Lol. I'm just... I want to stay in there forever. It's just amazing.


Katie(babs) Joelle wrote: "I just finished reading this. I agree with you. About having babies. Lol. I'm just... I want to stay in there forever. It's just amazing."

The ending was beautiful and heartbreaking.


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