Author: Erin Morgenstern
Page Count: 400
“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.
For years now, everyone has been telling me that The Night Circus is a must read book. After finally finishing one of the most well known books, I can say that I 100% agree with that statement. As you may or may not know, the book follows a circus that is only open at night. Although, that is far from the best thing about the circus, because everything in it is wonderfully magical and enchanting.
In spite of that, I can understand how this couldn’t be a book for everyone. This is not a fast paced action story or mystery thriller. It is a journey through this mysterious traveling circus and the performers that inhabit it. I have seen the story marketed many times as a love story, and while I wouldn’t say this is a romance novel, it does have a romance arc. I saw a BookTube review of the book regarding the romance, and I have to agree with them. For this to be considered a love story, it’s not about the romance between Marco and Celia, but rather a love story between the reader and the circus.
In a way, the circus itself is a character. While the tents themselves are not living and breathing, the circus as a whole is a living contraption. Everything inside of it is extremely complex, and if one part of the circus dies, the whole thing collapses. You get to know the quirks and personalities of the different tents, how the whole thing came be, and the future of the tents. The story is extremely descriptive and lush, and the reader is instantly transported inside the circus. You know what it would feel like to walk around on the ground and watch any of the performances. You know what the air smells like, and you can be just as amazed by the performances (even though you’re stuck wherever you’re reading the book). Even though it’s a physical being, the circus is alive, and the strange clock in the center is the beating heart.
Although, there are actual characters inhabiting the circus and helping it stay alive. The whole concept of the book is this game between two people that was set up by two different master magicians. Slowly we get to know these competitors- Marco and Celia. Both of them are insanely powerful magicians, who are to compete with one another in a game that apparently has no rules. The twist is that Marco and Celia end up falling in love, and have to deal with those consequences.
I liked Marco and Celia well enough, although I connected more with Celia. She did end up feeling more developed than Marco since we follow Celia’s point of view. Although, I grew to love the side characters way more than our protagonists. Tsukiko was by far my favorite. She is the contortionist of the circus, and has a mysterious yet motherly vibe about her. Tsukiko doesn’t talk much throughout the book, but every time she does it’s some of the most beautiful lines in the book. Widget and Poppet were also insanely fun to read from, since they had such an interesting backstory that intertwines with the history of the circus. I even enjoyed reading about Chandresh and his development throughout the story.
I can’t resist talking about the gorgeous writing style that Morgenstern developed. Every sentence is well crafted, and full of beautifully descriptive imagery. She truly makes her book and the story that she crafted feel real. Once you start reading her writing, it’s difficult to put down.
Overall, I’m completely in love with this book. It blew me away, in the best way possible. While reading, I couldn’t get enough of the writing style and circus. It’s definitely a slow paced story, but this allowed it to develop so wonderfully. If you’re like me and really late to The Night Circus bandwagon, I highly recommend hopping on as soon as you can!