Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern

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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71 comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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 2 people

    • 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

  4. 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 2 people

  5. 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 2 people

  6. 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 2 people

  7. 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 2 people

  8. “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

    • 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

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