Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern

One of my former co-workers and generally awesome person hosts a monthly book club.  While my advanced pregnancy rarely lets me stay awake late enough to attend the meetings, I almost always read the book.

I'm not generally a fan of the circus.  Clowns make me uncomfortable and I often feel like the bearded lady and I have a little too much in common.  These two things made me a little nervous to pick up "The Night Circus".  Would I really like a book about a circus?  What kind of story can the author tell that hasn't been told a thousand times already?  But pick it up I did...and here's what I thought:

Summary:  All is not what it seems at Le Cirque des Reves.  Open only at night, the Circus of Dreams rolls into town unannounced and seems to appear magically overnight.  The circus enthralls its guests with its back and white atmosphere, amazing acts and tents that seem to put even the most creative imagination to shame.

But all is not as it seems.  For deep within the circus, two illusionists are playing a game set into motion when they were children.  Neither player knows the what it will take to win nor just how high the stakes are.

What I Liked:
  • I thought the premise of the book was quite interesting:  two young people are raised and trained to play in a game in which they do not know their opponent, what it takes to win, and what will happen if they loose.  Played out in the Circus, each opponent seems to be limited only by their creativity and abilities.
  • The side characters and side stories were quite interesting  Usually filler, the supporting cast in The Night Circus added to the plot and helped move the story - which covered years - along in a way that was mostly reasonable.
  • Magic.  There's something about magic in a story that transports me into another world so completely that I have no trouble accepting things that would normally cause me to side eye the story.  The magic scenes in The Night Circus were rich with detail and described in a way that was completely captivating.
What Drove Me Nuts:
  • The story was a little slow in parts.  I felt like the plot took a tad to long too long to be told.
  • The ending was a little unsatisfying.  I won't say too much for fear of giving anything away, but I rather expected the book to go out with a bang instead of sort of....fading away.
  • The Circus was assumed to be amazing and magical and secondary characters consistently described the Circus in such a way, but upon further reflection I felt the author could have done more to show how the Circus and its players earned the status.

Rating:  Amid a fantastically imaginative setting with interesting characters and a plot that twists and turns unexpectedly, The Night Circus is a great book to read if you're looking for something that is fun and strange and just a little sad.

Also Read By:  Nothing yet, this is a debut novel by the author.

Reviewed By:  Tami

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