This blog may contain affiliate links

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"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, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart."

My Review:
Perhaps this book just wasn't my cup of tea, but I fell in with the hype and was hoping for greatness. I was failed. The overall idea of The Night Circus with it's mysterious, whimsical and dreamlike ambience was beautiful. The plot was, to me, tedious. I just wanted to finish the book and have done with it. Every time my attention wandered, I started skimming pages, and skipping sentences and paragraphs. I somehow feel like the only one who didn't like the book, with all the praise I'm reading about it, but there it is. Maybe others saw something more, but as much as I tried to read between the lines, it just fell flat. I absolutely loved the visual descriptions, as well as the mystical happenings of the circus, but the whole "game" that was being played, as well as the characters didn't do anything for me. In all the book was lackluster, as I fell in love with the idea of the book rather than the book itself.

View all my reviews

First Line: "The circus arrives without warning." (3)
Last Line: "You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream." (387)

"'How can you checkmate a circus? It doesn't make any sense.'" (129)

"'The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones,' Tsukiko replies." (137)

"'I am tired of trying to hold things together that cannot be held,' Celia says when he approaches her. 'Trying to control what cannot be controlled. I am tired of denying myself what I want for fear of breaking things I cannot fix. They will break no matter what we do.'" (295)

Hardcover387 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Doubleday
0385534639 (ISBN13: 9780385534635)


  1. The summary certainly is misleading. The Night Circus had a slower pace than I thought, and I hated some characters' point-of-views. I liked the atmosphere though. Nice review!

  2. Yes it was very slow! I felt like I was running mountains of reading and not really getting anywhere :/ The atmosphere was really the only thing that held my interest throughout the book. Thanks!

  3. When I first started Night Circus, I thought, "This is a 5 star book". Then it started to go downhill. I thought the middle third was so incredibly boring- I almost gave up. I've read books without plots, but this one couldn't really manage to do that well. I guess it sort of had a plot- the whole magical contest thing, but the way it was done in the book seemed contrived- like an afterthought. I do want to read more from the author, though. The descriptions of the circus were just magical. But that's just not enough to carry a whole book.

  4. This book was disappointing because nothing really happens...the reader is ambushed with cool descriptions that infer something dark and magical is going to happen, but it never does. Even the characters were blah.

    So yeah, you're not the only one who didn't love this one.

    Here's my review, if you're interested:

  5. I really liked it in the beginning as well! Then things started getting monotonous and boring. I too wouldn't mind looking into more books from the author, I just have to remember not to keep my hopes up too high.

  6. yes, exactly! Oh I'm definitely going to read your review! :)

  7. Thanks for the honest review, Denee! No, you're not the only one with a slightly more negative look on this book. Agree that the premise of this is actually really intriguing, but too bad it just wasn't sticky enough :( Ah well, hope your next week is better!

    Oh, by the way, looks like word verification is on for you :(

  8. Thanks! and I didn't know my word verification was one O_o thanks for letting me know so I can remedy that :)

  9. The Night Circus was written- at least part of it- during NaNoWriMo. So, I'm wondering if maybe it would have done better at novella length. (Which is about the 50,000 mark for Nano. Which would make it a longish novella) The reason I say that is because it seems like a great novella was stretched out to make a so-so full length novel. Which is maybe why some of it seemed added on as an afterthought. At least, that's some of what I began to thing about the book after hearing it was done/started at Nano.


Currently Reading

The Wright Brothers
The Bone Witch
The Fifth Season
Case Histories
The Detective's Assistant
The Diabolic
The Atonement
These Shallow Graves
May Day
Spackled and Spooked

Deneé's favorite books »


@NovelReveries Protection Status

In compliance with FTC Guidelines for Blogging and Endorsements all books either discussed or featured on Novel Reveries are either purchased by me OR loaned from a Library OR provided by the publisher/author for free. Novel Reveries provides honest reviews and opinions that are in no way influenced by free materials.
-Deneé J.