Review: The Night Circus

the-night-circus“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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.” – Goodreads

I’m so conflicted about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was a strange read for me, in that I liked it – yet at the same time, I did not like it. Allow me to explain.

I like things to be happening in the books that I read. Whether it be detailed introspection by a singular character, or interaction between multiple characters, I want things to be moving along. I need that… sense of life imbued upon the pages. For the first half of The Night Circus, this was very rare. There was quite a lot of descriptive language: about people, about objects, and most certainly about the circus and its attractions and performers. Don’t get me wrong – it was beautiful, magical language and I would have appreciated it much more had there been much less of it. About two-thirds of the way through the novel, things started moving right along – and I became a happy, happy woman. When Marco and Celia finally met – fireworks exploded! It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship – between myself, and The Night Circus.

Here’s a rundown of the basic story: Magician father has daughter (Celia) with super-powers. His arch-rival trains student (Marco) in the art of magic, as well. Father and arch-rival  bind the two children to a life-long duel of wits and powers that only one will survive. What no one expects is for love to blossom in the middle of this life-or-death battle. How the two young lovers attempt to transcend their fate will put their powers to the ultimate test.

The Night Circus also entertains quite the cast of unique and enchanting supporting characters. We have Tsukiko, the Japanese contortionist. Isobel, the tarot-card reading spy. Poppet and Widget, the flame-haired young twins born the opening night of the circus. Last, but not least, Bailey – who may just be the savior of the Circus in the end.

As mentioned previously, the pacing in this novel is off. For a book about an intense battle and love story, things did not begin to become intense until the last third of the novel. While I sincerely enjoyed the love story (I’m pretty much a big sap, sad but true) there was no real catalyst for it – the romance basically bloomed merely because the author deemed it so. While this was enough for me, more demanding readers might be a bit more skeptical.

I truly did enjoy The Night Circus once things began to move along for me. While I’m not generally a fan of magic and fantasy in my literature, it was just subtle enough in this novel so as not to offend me. By the time the book ended, I had forgotten my frustration with the beginning pages, and was left with the wonder of the magic and beauty of the last. I do not regret this read, and you won’t either.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Buy it, read it, love it.

3 stars

Source: Free Library of Philadelphia

 

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The #EstellaProject, Summer 2014

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I’m so jealous of all of these challenges and read-alongs that I see other book bloggers participating in all of the time. Where do they find the time and energy? This Spring I took the leap and participated in one of the easiest challenges ever, The Bout of Books 10 Read-a-thon, which was nice and fun, and I got to put a cute little badge on my blog, and got to feel like I accomplished something… but now I feel like too much time has passed, and I need to do more. What perfect timing, because The Estella Project, Season 2 has come to my rescue!

The #EstellaProject, hosted by The Estella Society, involves a list of books (gathered via a poll of its readers) from which participants must choose two to three to read and review. Reviews are then posted on the participants’ blogs and linked to on The #EstellaProject, Season 2 linky page. There is also a read-along scheduled for July 21st – August 18th for those who want to participate; the featured book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I haven’t decided if I’m going to read along with that one or not – it remains to be seen…

So! Here we go – I have chosen to read three books from the given list:

I have to read and review all three books by September 1st, 2014. I’m currently 70% done with Eleanor & Park. The Boy and I just began reading To Kill a Mockingbird together as a Read Aloud book (don’t let your tweens tell you they don’t like being read out loud to, y’all – they love it!). All that will be left soon is The Night Circus! Moving right along, folks, moving right along. Keep your eyes open for my reviews of these books over the next several weeks. If you would like to learn more about The #EstellaProject, please click here.

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