Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern

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Each month on my blog, This Is My Truth Now, followers choose a novel from my Book Bucket List that I have to read. For July, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was selected as the winner, and although it was in a genre I don’t often read (fantasy), I really enjoyed it. There were many parts I would give all five stars to, but there were also several where I thought it was just ‘good’ and received three stars; in the end, it’s earned a combined 4 stars from this bookworm… and now I’ll explain why!

circus.jpg

One of the reasons I struggle with fantasy is the lack of understanding all the rules in a fictional setting that seemingly has no bounds. In a realistic book, I know that someone who truly dies won’t come back to life, people can’t just suddenly appear through magic, and spells can’t confuse me as to what is real and what isn’t. I’ve come to love those things in more lighthearted stories, but when I am entrapped n a very somber / serious / beautiful piece of fiction, not knowing the rules can sometimes induce a difficulty to fully connect with the story or characters… and in The Night Circus, there were moments where I found myself asking the questions “Why couldn’t you just cast this spell?” or “Why didn’t you change the game?” or “Wait, how exactly can you do X but you can’t do Y?”

When I do this, I’m pulled from the story and suddenly less interested or focused on the outcome. So… for fantasy to truly pull me in, there need to be ground rules established from the beginning so I have structure. I can’t help it, I’m a boundaries-type kinda guy for the most part. Since this happened a bit too often in The Night Circus, I found myself thinking the book was just average. The book also jumps time frames in no particular order, which I am usually fine with, but when I have to keep track of time lines and what magic is happening in which person’s life, I am either not smart enough or just not well read enough in this genre! HOWEVER… on the flip side, these not-so-amazing parts for me were more than counter-balanced with tons of POSITIVE and THRILLING aspects.

Wow, was this an ethereal and beautiful story. I lost track of all the similes, metaphors and analogies between the words on the page. It was lyrical and enchanting… from the circus itself to the competition to the love/romance and the death. I tore through the pages in certain sections because I just kept digesting its absolute brilliance and didn’t want to stop and think about it – just wanted to breathe it all in at once. I might be in love with Celia Bowen, the main character for most of the novel. What she goes through and how she turns everything into gold is just stunning. I’d forgotten what she even looked like as it was more just this concept of magic I attributed to her… she was a weaver, a spellbinding enchantress… and when she was pushed back down again, or lost Marco from time to time, I was devastated.

Morgenstern’s creation of a fantastic world is utterly gorgeous beyond words. From how the circus looks and appears to the creation of the clock that holds it all together. I found myself unable to put the book down several times — only if I truly had to stop for something important. I would read another Morgenstern again, and I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer. So thrilled with this choice, thank you everyone!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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66 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern

    The Cozy Pages said:
    July 6, 2018 at 11:27 AM

    Keeping track of the time jumps and different magical skills was the biggest issue I had with Night Circus as well. But it really is just so beautiful! The world, the people, the magic, the clock, the circus attractions…. delightful. And I certainly loved the lyrical story-telling. I hope to reread it sometime soon as well. I’m sure there are many things I missed along the way the first time around.
    So glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carrie Rubin said:
    July 6, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    I thought the writing was beautiful, and, like you, that helped me let some of the other issues I had with the book go. I’m an easy reader to please: keep me turning the pages and I’m there. This one did that for me. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    Jessica Rachow said:
    July 6, 2018 at 12:09 PM

    That’s probably the only writing “rule,” I try to consistently follow – make sure your readers understand the magic system! Otherwise, this sounds like a great read. I’ll have to add it to my never ending TBR and promise myself I’ll get to it “soon.” 😉 Great review, as always! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 2:13 PM

      haha, too funny on getting to it ‘soon’ — I totally understand. How is your writing coming along??? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Jessica Rachow said:
        July 6, 2018 at 6:25 PM

        It’s coming, haha. I just re-outlined because I needed to change some things to make my ending work better, so I’m excited. And I have a lot more time to work on it while out of work!

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 6, 2018 at 6:37 PM

        Good luck. Can’t wait to hear more.

        Liked by 1 person

    CJR The Brit said:
    July 6, 2018 at 1:49 PM

    What a fab review 😁 I found this book in a charity shop so for 99p I had to snap it up…..but am yet to read 😁

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 2:13 PM

      It’s definitely worth reading… very similar to The Bear & the Nightingale in terms of style and tone, if you’re familiar with that one!

      Like

        CJR The Brit said:
        July 6, 2018 at 3:39 PM

        I’m not….but I think I might need to be!!! Thanks 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    TheReadersBay said:
    July 6, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    Hiii! I’m glad you read the night circus. I have yet to finish the book.

    Also, how have you been doing? I was wondering about you just the other day. Any new books in progress?

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 2:15 PM

      Hi. What’s holding up finishing the book? I’ve been there on a few others, but I have finally caught up on all the open ones I left on the side. It takes forever sometimes to get there. 🙂

      Thank you! I’m good. Adopted a new puppy. Was away for a few weeks right before. Things are settling in. I am in the middle of a new book, but it’s very different from the first two. I am actually writing 2 books at once, so we’ll see which I get to a full draft first to figure out what beta readers will see first. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        TheReadersBay said:
        July 6, 2018 at 2:25 PM

        Hahaha thats great. I have yet to read Shattered glass. I have it but due to all my semester reports and internships now, I’m just not getting the time. But I have started working at a bookstore for the summers, so I’ll have plenty of time to read definitely!!

        Can’t wait for your next boooks!! Good luck ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 6, 2018 at 2:29 PM

        Thank you! I really need to start marketing more… Father Figure and Watching Glass Shatter are doing well, but I haven’t done anything in weeks. Oops!

        No worries, I look forward to hearing your thoughts whenever you have time, 🙂 Sounds like a busy summer for you, too.

        Liked by 1 person

        TheReadersBay said:
        July 7, 2018 at 4:17 PM

        It’s always so nice to talk to you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 7, 2018 at 5:01 PM

        Thank you! 🙂

        Like

    (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea said:
    July 6, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    This is a beautiful review Jay! Even as someone who LOVES this story, I can really appreciate where you are coming from. And this is a shining example of what makes reading such a person and individualized experience 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 3:54 PM

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I really enjoyed the book; there weren’t any parts that I disliked. The ones I struggled with were purely genre-specific, but the writing was close to impeccable. So glad I read it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Beware Of The Reader said:
    July 6, 2018 at 3:19 PM

    So I laready knew you were a “go by the rules” guy LOL Don’t sell yourself too short Jay as you did enjoy this one. I like to be immersed in an imaginary world where everything is possible but I need some consistency in the story 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 3:53 PM

      You’re so kind, thank you! How are you? Been way too long… I’ve been offline a bit, but back next week hopefully more regularly.

      Like

    Like Danielle, I loved this book, but as you know I’m a fantasy fan, so I’m used to just “going with the flow”. Wonderful reviewJay and I’m glad when all was said and done you still enjoyed this.🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    dbmoviesblog said:
    July 6, 2018 at 4:37 PM

    I have always wanted to read this book and saw it on store shelves so many times, but never quite had that zeal to rush with it to the checkouts. I will definitely be now looking to read it asap. I do not generally read fantasy myself, but if you say it is lyrical and enchanting, I cannot pass it by. Many thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 4:39 PM

      You’re welcome. It’s a beautiful tale and so much of it was probably lost on me. Definite recommend!

      Liked by 1 person

        dbmoviesblog said:
        July 6, 2018 at 4:45 PM

        I do not know how I managed not to follow you on twitter so far, now I do and you have a nice photo there too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 6, 2018 at 4:54 PM

        Glad to connect there, too! Thanks.

        Like

    Never Not Reading said:
    July 6, 2018 at 5:45 PM

    I’m the opposite, I enjoy not knowing the rules and discovering them as we go. That was especially exciting to me in The Night Circus since Celia and Marco don’t really understand the rules themselves!

    Liked by 1 person

    foodinbooks said:
    July 6, 2018 at 7:56 PM

    Wonderful review. Isn’t this the most delightful book? I just finished reading it for the second time, and actually have added it to my list of books to blog in the next month or so.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 6, 2018 at 8:32 PM

      Ooh so many ideas on foods with dual or dueling natures. Or magic in how it changes into something else!!! Thx.

      Liked by 1 person

    kathyscottage said:
    July 7, 2018 at 7:30 AM

    Good review! 🙂 I haven’t read this book. I’m still thinking on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Martie said:
    July 7, 2018 at 9:18 AM

    This book must be having a comeback, I see it often posted. I read it back in 2011. It’s one of the few magical reads that I ever enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 7, 2018 at 4:03 PM

      I’m glad we share this one in common. I have seen it around a lot. I saw it on a bookshelf in my building’s library, so I picked it up!

      Liked by 1 person

        Martie said:
        July 8, 2018 at 4:27 PM

        You have been busy on my blog. Thanks so much for checking out my reviews. Much appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 8, 2018 at 5:07 PM

        I read a bunch this morning… hope to be caught up so I can comment again next week! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Martie said:
        July 9, 2018 at 9:30 AM

        You are such a sweetie to comment. I know that when I get a “like” one second after posting a review it wasn’t read. I appreciate fellow reviewers support but you go the extra mile.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 9, 2018 at 3:12 PM

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    Carrie said:
    July 8, 2018 at 12:02 PM

    Great review Jay, I have this one loaded on my Kindle and hoping to sneak it in sometime between my ARCs.

    Liked by 1 person

    robbiecheadle said:
    July 8, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    I am not a huge fan of adult fantasy either, Jay, more or less for the same reasons as you. I don’t think this is a book I will read but your review is great.

    Liked by 1 person

    Dani☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆ said:
    July 8, 2018 at 5:34 PM

    Fantastic review, Jay!!!❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    July 8, 2018 at 9:37 PM

    Wonderful review Jay. This is a book I have wanted to read for a long time. You are tempting me to move it to the top of my TBR. I agree with your thoughts about rules. I also get a bit frustrated when I think the character should be able to do something and they can’t for some unexplained reason. The writing itself sounds mesmerizing though.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 9, 2018 at 7:14 AM

      It really is a great book. If you get pulled in, you’ll be swept away. I think it was strong in terms of competition between the two performers and guessing who was behind it all.

      Liked by 1 person

        carhicks said:
        July 11, 2018 at 12:32 AM

        I have added it to my list at the library. Hopefully, I will get it soon. Time to just take the plunge and read some of the books I want and let the ARCs wait just a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

    Rae Longest said:
    July 10, 2018 at 8:11 PM

    This is the review of yours I’ve been waiting for. Who needs boundaries and rules when the wording is beautiful?

    Liked by 1 person

    melsbookrealm said:
    July 11, 2018 at 10:31 PM

    Great review! The Night Circus has been on my TBR shelf for the longest time for similar reasons as your own, but this review has definitely gotten me more excited about getting to it!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 12, 2018 at 7:41 AM

      I’m glad to help. I look forward to seeing your thoughts when you get to it.

      Like

    […] 14th entry off my Book Bucket List:  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. You can see the review here. In its place, I’ve added Entrapped by Claire Ayres to round out the 12 options for the next […]

    Liked by 1 person

    thebookwormdrinketh said:
    July 16, 2018 at 7:54 AM

    “someone who truly dies won’t come back to life, people can’t just suddenly appear through magic, and spells can’t confuse me as to what is real and what isn’t.”… Are you SURE Jay?? Do you know everything about this world?? 😉😂
    I understand how the questioning can be frustrating though, especially when they do set up this world that seemingly has no limits.. And then suddenly they’re limiting thing. 😕 This one is still on my list to get to (I really need to!!) but, I’ve heard a lot of the same complaints about it! I’m glad that it still got a really good overall rating!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 16, 2018 at 8:02 AM

      You have a point. I don’t know everything. But I’m so boring, none of these fun things have ever happened to me (that I’m aware of) unless you’re trying to say you are really dead and came back to life and have put me under a curse?

      Liked by 1 person

    moorezart said:
    July 16, 2018 at 3:20 PM

    Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

    Liked by 1 person

    Dani Watkins said:
    July 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    I loved this book!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 18, 2018 at 2:30 PM

      I’m glad to hear. Did you review it on your blog, too? Will check it out!

      Like

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