Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

July 25, 2013 Review 42 ★★★★½

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: DoubleDay
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 387
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.


The simplest way I can describe the Night Circus, which is not a simple book at all, is that it is written beautifully and has one of the most well though out plots I have ever read. However, you need to be slow and really appreciate it, if you are expecting fireworks and nonstop action, this is not the book for you.

Credit: TheSearchingEyes @ DeviantArt

There is a deadly game afoot set in place by two men that are much older than they seem. A game, a contest, a dual; a competition between two magicians that will have consequences for not only them, but for everyone else that gets involved.

The concept of a magician’s dual, especially created in such a devious and mysterious way was fascinating and left just enough secrecy for the reader to wonder along with the main characters.

Celia and Marco were fantastic characters. Actually, the whole cast of characters was magnificent, each of them having their own motives and flaws and secrets. They, like the entire book, were each puzzles, and even by the end of the book there are still missing pieces, but that is the beauty of THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

For a story written in third person, and at times second person, it is so wonderfully written. You can taste, hear, smell, and see everything that is described in vivid detail, and it is so amazing. I had to give the writing five stars, it was absolutely perfect.

The romance is not the main component of this book, so do not go in expecting it from the start. It develops slowly, over time, and that makes all the difference to the story. It just adds more emotion in the end and lets you focus on other important parts in the book.

If you have not read this book now, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. But make sure you have the time to truly savor it.

If you liked this review and found it helpful, please vote so on Amazon here: The Night Circus

Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

42 Responses to “Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern”

      • Andreea

        At first I was hesitant to read it because I am not a fan of the circus, but I always saw these positive reviews and thought I’d give it a try. Glad I did because I would have missed out on a fantastic read.
        Andreea recently posted…25 Facts About Me!

    • Alise

      That’s exactly how I would describe it! It’s definitely not something you can expect to rush through. Thanks!

    • Alise

      Yeah, there were some slow parts but I loved how it all came together. The competition was one of my favorite parts, especially since it wasn’t completely straightforward.

  1. Eve

    I liked most of the book, but the constant switch between so many points of view was a little irritating. But I have to agree with you that the writing was absolutely amazing; few authors have such a clean writing style and I loved that. And the fact that the romance wasn’t a big part of the book was a big plus; otherwise, the story wouldn’t have stood out so much. Kind of makes me wish Erin Morgenstern had more books *sigh*
    Eve recently posted…Review: Carrier of the Mark

    • Alise

      It was a bit confusing, especially since the time periods also switched back and forth. I was just thinking that the other day when I checked Goodreads. Morgenstern: write more! Haha

  2. Kate @ whYAnot

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I’m glad it didn’t disappoint! I always enjoy a beautiful written book – so this is definitely one for the to-read list. Great review! And I really like your rating system too

  3. Montana @ The Book Belles

    I’ve seen this around in a few bookstores, but never considered picking it up. It sounds great, though! I love the premise and I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for it now. Great review :)

    • Alise

      Thank you! I really hope you check it out, I wouldn’t have picked it up if it weren’t for a friend either :)

  4. Angie

    I enjoyed this book a lot. I know some people who didn’t because there was no action. I will admit I thought there was going to be some type of wizard’s duel in it but it never came. A little disappointing because of that but still a wonderful novel.

    Angie recently posted…Reading Road-Trip UTAH!

    • Alise

      Yeah, I can understand that, especially with the promise of competition between Celia and Marco. I’m not sure if I was expecting a sort of duel, but it was a bit too low key sometimes.

    • Alise

      Thanks! :D Yep, the connecting everything was challenging but I really had fun guessing how it all related back to each other.

  5. Lauren

    I agree, I think the writing is beautiful and the plot wonderfully thought out, but it does take patience to enjoy this book. Luckily I was in a patient mood when I listened to it on audio on a car trip. :-) I’m glad to hear you loved it and that you had the time to savor it properly. You’re right, everyone should read it but not if they are in a rush. Amazing review!
    Lauren recently posted…Zoe Letting Go Paperback Release Recipe Sweepstakes

    • Alise

      Ooh, I imagine it would be even more enjoyable on audio. Aha, car trips kind of force us to be patient! I was warned to be patient so I enjoyed it, otherwise I am not a very patient person at all. Thank you! :)

    • Alise

      Thank you! It really does have its own special kind of magic. Yeah, I had to go back and reread some passages because there was just so much to soak in, like you mentioned.

  6. Charlotte Eve

    I’ve been only seeing ‘meh’ reviews from my friends for this book, so I never really payed attention to it. But now that I know that the characters, writing, and story are well thought-out, I think I may just try The Night Circus out. I do love a slow-developing romance :D

    Great review, Alise!
    Charlotte Eve recently posted…Friends In Young Adult Fiction

    • Alise

      If you like relationships like that I really think you will enjoy this one :) It does take a certain amount of patience and thought but it is well worth it in the end. Thanks!

  7. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    Ah!! This is one of the many books still sitting on my shelves, though I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. What you said about savoring the writing is what I’ve seen several times (though some people have said that there are *too* many descriptions?). I had no idea that this one involved a magician’s dual, but that makes it sound all the more awesome, and that the romance is slow-burning and off to the side, even better.

    Also, also, have I ever written about how awesome this layout is? I’m a huge fan of the way everything appears on the screen and your curving signature.

    And: “Her current favorite author is Leigh Bardugo, and current favorite book is Days of Blood and Starlight.” You, like your layout, are also AWESOME. Yes!!
    Christina @ Christina Reads YA recently posted…Lush on Thursday

    • Alise

      Hmm, it depends if you if you really dislike descriptions or not. I don’t like unnecessary descriptions but I thought these really enriched the book. Yeah the magic involved was great, just be warned it’s not a straightforward duel but a drawn out competition.

      Thanks so much :D I used to change the layout weekly because I was never happy with it but I think I will keep it like this for awhile. Glad you like it! :)

  8. Delaney

    I am so happy you read and reviewed this fabulous creation! The writing is just to die for. I love the picture of the clock that you put in because the clock–is another thing to die for. And the romance is so adorable. The ending! DX I just…the ending! All ’em feels! Ahh, now I feel like rereading this book.
    Delaney recently posted…World-Building Done Right

    • Alise

      Aha, it IS a great book :) I was so worried it was going to have a tragic ending, but I like the bittersweet one. So cute. And yes, that writing-fantastic!

  9. Tory

    Ahhhh, yes – I definitely have to read this book soon after seeing all these good reviews from the bloggers I follow! :D Woes of an ever-piling-up TBR stack. XD I like that romance is not the focus here, I’m more interested in this deadly duel that the characters are going or are having! :D I’m also always up for a beautifully written book. Great review and that’s a nice artwork you found there! :D
    Tory recently posted…Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

    • Alise

      Ah, yes, the towering TBR. I also loved the magic aspects, although I have to warn you it’s not Harry Potter style magic duels xD Hope you like this one!

  10. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

    I remember feeling really bored the first time I read this, but I’m convinced that if I were to read it again, I would enjoy it as much as you did. The writing and imagery were certainly brilliant, and I loved Morgenstern’s way of creating an atmosphere (or, I do now that I look back on it, haha).
    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts recently posted…July 2013 In Review

    • Alise

      Yeah, if my friend hadn’t warned me what to expect I would have been bored as well. It’s definitely one you need to take your time on. I hope you give it another chance!

  11. Photo Booth NC

    I keep going back and forth on this one, but my library has it in audio so now I’m going to have to try it in audio. I find I’m a little more forgiving in that format, except if the reader person has an annoying voice! Wish me luck!

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