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Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus captured me from the first few sentences:
The circus arrives without warning.
No announcements precede it, not paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
There is no way to convey this book in the small little words that I can use. The Night Circus is just too robust. The world too broad. Erin Morgenstern did more than create a world and tell me about it...she transported me there. I was thunderstruck by the pure imagination of this novel, the depth in which it was thought out and the portrayal of all the many elements. It was a true gem and I'm stoked that I was able to have the pleasure of reading it.

A battle of magic, or enchantments, they would say. Two men, a part from the world because of their power, entertain themselves by challenging each other. Their combatants: their young students. Their venue: Le Cirque de Reves. The public will see the Night Circus, the black-and-white striped tents, the acrobats, contortionists and displays that defy the laws of nature but, they believe it is just tricks, mirrors – wondrous, awe-inspiring – but tricks, not what it really is, magic. They could never guess what really lies behind the black-and-white stripes of the circus. Two magicians, on a quest to create the most magical displays, their battle going on and on...until it can not be sustained any longer and a winner is chosen.

I can only say that you have to experience this book for yourself. It is a crazy ride of the senses. Morgenstern paints a picture that only a few authors can accomplish. Her unique voice and creativity will lead you to another world, something that is rarely experienced but when it does, it stays with you for a really long time.

My only disappoint, or really confusion lay within the novel structure. It was not written within a consecutive time-line. It jumped from past to present or present to future, back and forth and back and forth. I wasn't sure what was the present, it was rather disconcerting at times. I believe this was some sort of perfect tense that the author employed rather ingeniously to reveal the story in a timeline as it was revealed to each character - but while genius - it was sometimes hard to follow.  Let me try to explain, the two main old magicians knew all the information so they were rarely covered by POV except in the beginning of the book when the bet has been made so this begins the story. Yet, there is a character that does not come into play until the very end of the timeline but is integral to the plot so he is discussed throughout the book in fits and starts as the plot is revealed to him. Intense and confusing at times, but very interesting. It did lead to a more abstract feeling within the book, but sometimes I really didn't know where I was within the construct of the timeline and plot. I just wasn't used to anything like this. Call this a failure of my brain not the story.

Recommended for a more mature teen readership, but there is nothing explicit for parents to be wary of. While there are paranormal themes, this book would cross over into general fiction very easily. Think JK Rowling teaming up with Tim Burton to devise a more adult themed Harry Potter... I can not wait for this movie.

411 on the Series
  • The rights of The Night Circus has already sold in 22 countries
  • There is a confirmed film deal with SUMMIT already
  • First print run will be 175,000
Like this Like That
This series was not that similar but reminiscent of a lot of YA fantasy novels like:
  1. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
  2. Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engle


Beth D. said...

I am looking forward to it all the more!

Beth ^_^

Annette said...

I'm so glad you liked this. The Tim Burton thing kind of scares me though....

I've got a copy and plan to read it SOON! Thanks!

Penelope Lolohea said...

I'm SO glad you reviewed this! I have been pretty excited for it, so I'm glad to hear how much you liked it. Can't wait for it to come out!

Shanella said...

I read an article on this book, that the author did her first draft during NaNoWriMo ... I've added it to my wishlist since!

I'm not a fan of jumping timelines, but I'll give this book a chance since everything else you said was appealing.

Gina @ My Precious said...

I've been very curious about the nature of this book. I've heard many say its not young adult fiction. Do you know its true classification. Does it lean more towards YA than adult?

Also, do you happen to know if this is a stand-a-lone book or part of a bigger series.


Stephsco said...

There is so much buzz about this book (lots and lots of hype). This is the first review I've seen. Thanks so much! I also have trouble at times with non-linear storytelling, but if I'm interested enough in the characters I can overlook those issues.

Willa said...

I can't wait to read this one! Thank you so much for reviewing it.

Cait said...

Awesome review!! I've seen this around and had a bit of a 'meh' reaction but the reviews are just fantastic so now I really want to get my hands on it!! The structure does sound confusing but I'm up for the challenge!

The Cait Files

Jennifer@The Book Nympho said...

I've been thinking about adding this one to my TBR and now after reading your review it's on there now.

June G said...

I have this, but haven't read it yet. Now I can't wait! Thanks for preparing me for it. I'll try to read carefully to lessen the confusion :-)

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

I loved your review, Rachel, but there is just something in my that can't stand reading the word circus. For me circus has always = boring.. I'm not sure if I can get over that feeling.

Bookish Brunette said...

I've had an ARC of this one for awhile... And honestly, I am so freaking nervous to start it- so I haven't!

I need to take the plunge... I'm fairly certain I've already psyched myself out thinking I'm going to be confused though!

kaye (paper reader) said...

I absolutely loved, adored, and all sort of positive-verbed this one. The time-changing had me flipping back and forth for the first chapters and then once I had a grasp of what was happening to who it all played out quite nicely.

For those who don't care for circuses - I don't, either. But this book is easily one of my favorites.

Karen said...

That sounds sort of mind blowing, which is really hard to find these days.

I have no idea if this book would work for me but I think I'm going to give it a try.

Linda said...

I've been dying to read this book and now I want it even more. Awesome review!

Tahlia Newland said...

This one's grabbed me. It's on my TBR list now. It's good to know in advance about the timeline thing, so thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow- now Im all worked up in a tizzy to read this!!! I fell in love with its cover when I saw the Arcs coming out and I love Circus action..:)

And ps I watched your vlog- I picked up the zombie book...Im about to be scared tonight!!!!!! EKE!

Adam said...

Ah, I want this book so bad! How did you get an early copy of this!?

Alison Can Read said...

I'm so glad you loved this. I've been wondering if it was going to live up to the hype. I'm happy that several reviews whose opinions I trust have raved about it.

Also, very disappointed that BB101 won't be up tomorrow. It's a highlight of my week. But looking forward to see what Supernatural Smackdown is about.

Pabkins said...

I'm trying to control my book buying but I simply must have this book!

кєяo said...

Are these the opening lines? They sound really intriguing?

Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

Loved loved loved this book!

I think your description of J.K. Rowling and Tim Burton hooking up to make a more adult Harry Potter is a perfect comparison!

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