Francine's Reviews > The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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's review
Oct 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: american-lit, fantasy, modern-lit, speculative, magical-realism, romance, kindle
Read from October 01 to 11, 2011 — I own a copy

This was a beautifully written book. On a purely technical level, it was near-perfect. The imagery was fantastic, the prose was lyrical, and the characters were very well developed (and that includes the biggest character of all, the circus itself).

However, from a reader's emotional point of view, I felt that it took such a long time for things to come together that at times, I couldn't help wondering "Where is this all going and do I want to stick with it?" I like well-written narratives but when the technical beauty gets in the way of the story, I have a tendency to think that it detracts from what drew me to the book in the first place: the promise of being caught up in the story.

One of the things that I found annoying was that Morgenstern kept switching perspectives and person (as in first, second or third person). It was distracting and I felt that it broke the flow of the narrative. I must admit, having the first chapter written in second person was very disconcerting and I wondered if I could handle an entire novel in second person. Thankfully, it wasn't, but she did switch back and forth between first, second and third person. This was also part epistolary (the first person parts) and while I am a huge fan of the epistolary, I am not all that convinced it added a significant benefit to the narrative. I can see why she did it; after all, something critical happens to the character speaking in first person that had wide-ranging effects in the narrative. It was a good literary device -- again, from a technical perspective, it worked, but from an emotional one, not so much (at least for me).

So, rating's-wise, I gave this a 4 for how well-written it was, but a 3 for the story itself.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jason loved loved loved this book. I agree on all fronts, though the first, second, third person didn't really hit me as hard as it hit you, primary because i read it in two sittings.

For me i liked how story lines shifted and collided together on different angles. One story, or characters experience shadowed another, continued previous story lines from a different perspective, or looked at an event differently. I preferred the beginning and ending to the middle, though i favored some portions of the middle over the ending. It was a really nice book and i enjoyed your review.

Francine Thanks, Jason! Who was your favorite character(s)? I definitely liked Bailey and Poppet best.

Jason hands down Bailey. Chandresh had his moments, particularly towards the end. I also liked "the clock"; A LOT!

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