Thursday, November 10, 2011
Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I want to run away and join the circus, and not just any circus. I want to be a part of Erin Morgenstern's black and white magical circus with its countless number of tents, its caramel apples, mulled cider, and the infinite bonfire.
The Night Circus is a fantastic first novel, and I was intrigued by the premise. A circus wanders the globe, mysteriously showing up in fields,
and is only open from sunset to sunrise, hence the title of the book, and it is called Le Cirque des Reves. Behind the circus there is a game going on, a game of life and death (although the players don't yet know this) between the Illusionist Celia, an innate magical being, and Marco, a man taught how to be magical. They eventually fall in love and the circus becomes jeopardized.
Morgenstern paints a lovely and imaginative picture of what this circus would look like, and smell like. It's a page turner, but not in a suspenseful way, it's more about the layers she's created. We get to experience the circus as a bystander sometimes, then a circus goer, then as a member of the troupe. It's an ensemble piece, and there are a few characters to get to know. I really was drawn to Herr Friedrick Thiessen, the clockmaker who becomes a Reveurs (someone who loves the circus, a hardcore fan). I also really enjoyed Poppet and Widget, babies born of the circus, in the circus, the night of its opening.
The story itself spans about thirty years, but continues long after the main events have concluded. But I do have a quibble about the ending. It's a bit unsatisfying. I felt as though more would be revealed, or at least a a better reason as to why the main characters, Celia and Marco, were thrust into this fame by their mentors. The reason given was rather lame, and disappointing. I also think that the book could have used more editing. At times, the descriptions were a bit convoluted and the image that was trying to be conveyed was a bit messy (at least in my mind, I suppose I could blame my spinster brain for that). I also found the two main characters to be aloof, which, at times, made it difficult for me to connect to them, and to really, truly care about their journey and subsequent destiny. That being said The Night Circus is still a wondrous read and should not be skipped.
8 out of 10.