I picked up this book because of the cover art, I was seeing it everywhere, and because magic combined with the Victorian age just seemed like a win-win read. After reading it I am still stewing about it. I really wanted to like it, but there was something about it that kept me from that goal.
Morgenstern has a great way of describing something. I would say over half the book is filled with descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells, and magic of Le Cirque des Reves and all the characters. Morgenstern does an amazing job painting the pictures so you can clearly imagine what the reader is looking at, smelling, remembering, and creating. I really appreciated that. It was beautiful and magical.
The story line, because of all the beautiful and clear descriptions seemed secondary. It is because of this I felt myself become confused at times or have to really concentrate to remember what was actually happening in the story. I was still tangled in the descriptions of the competition and magical creations. If it was not for the date reminder at the beginning of each chapter I would have been completely lost because time seemed to not really matter other than the author wanting years to pass.
I am generally a fan of ya books but this one left me underwhelmed. I would recommend it to the age group it is intended for but probably not to my adult readers.