“A breathtaking feat of imagination, a flight of fancy that pulls you in and wraps you up in its spell.” The Times
“Dazzling,” Independent on Sunday
As someone with a degree in creative writing, it is extremely hard for me to become immersed in and truly enjoy a book. Too often I’m caught up by poorly constructed sentences, plot holes, clichés, stereotypes, problematic behaviour, representation, and tropes, predictability; etc. (It’s honestly ruined the reading experience. 10/10 would not recommend.) The Night Circus, however, enraptured me from the first page.
With its unique structure of a second person narration surrounding you with the crackle of flames, the smell of popcorn, the taste of caramel apples, interwoven between two alternating storylines, it is so easy to get lost in the world that Morgenstern created.
The fantastical elements of the circus and the characters, of this world, were so organic, that, rather than fantasy, it almost read like magic realism. While I preferred the main story line of Celia and Marco, each of the characters were beautifully etched to life, along with every scene, every description, and so I didn’t get bored when the timeline shifted.
The sheer imagination and depth that went into this narrative is mind boggling. This is the kind of novel that both reminds me of why I want to be a writer, and why I probably never will be. I honestly can’t believe that it hasn’t received more critical acclaim.
Though I have seen the novel criticised for its slow pace, I would argue that the dreamlike trance it creates is part of it’s charm. The narrative spans decades, and it feels as if we are there for each one, as much a part of the circus as the characters we follow.
My only possible critique is that the book isn’t long enough and the ending dissatisfying, because I was not ready to let go when it finished. This would now have to be one of my favourite books of all time. I can’t wait for Morgenstern to write something else, and can only pray that it will be just as wonderful.
(Continue reading for a more in depth review, but beware spoilers.)