Claire's Reviews > The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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's review
Oct 03, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: aaaaangst, grown-up, historical-fiction, literary-fiction, speculative-fiction
Read in January, 2012

Eh, underwhelming. I think I might have loved this in high school or college -- perhaps when I loved When Night Is Falling, a classic 90's lesbian movie -- but it just felt self-indulgent and precious to me. I didn't find the characters or the narrative particularly compelling -- I mean, there wasn't that much standing in their way, really, and they didn't do much to overcome it. It felt underdeveloped in everything but atmosphere.

On the other hand, if atmosphere is what you like best, this may be a good read for you!

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jessica I think I had more fun with it than you did. But at some point I started thinking, "Why are they participating in this competition thingy?" If the central conflict of your novel is vague, there is a problem. Apparently, I am a sucker for atmosphere.

Claire Right? I mean, I really like the premise of them having to participate in the competition, but we just didn't see them forced into it, and what they did have to do was just fun and neat. Not so much torturous or a compelling conflict.

Kirsten Didn't those rings embedded in their hands cause pain if they didn't play along with the competition?

Claire There was pain if they tried to leave, but that was it.

Kirsten I guess I just assumed that was an indication that they would suffer a worse fate if they abandoned the competition, but maybe I was wrong.

Jessica Kirsten, you're right, there was a mechanism for making them participate. I just didn't feel like it was compelling. I mean, they have magic! And when the old men explained the origin of the competition, it just didn't resonate for me. I really enjoyed reading the book. Just, afterwards, I felt that the central conflict had not felt authentic.

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