Review: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Rating: 4/5

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.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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.


When I had picked up this book, my feelings were mixed. On one hand, I was really looking forward to reading it. On the other hand, there was so much hype about it, I was afraid it would let me down.

I had heard a lot about the magical writing of the book, and I was not disappointed by it. The entire story was really descriptive, and had a magical feel to it. The descriptions of the circus were lush, vivid and beautiful. 

The characterization was beautifully done, and the romance was amazing. The story was as dark as it was beautiful, there were several morally ambiguous characters. I found myself empathizing a lot with the protagonists, Celia, the female lead in particular, for she had a tough life, and never had the freedom to choose her lifestyle. 

I badly wanted to give this book a 5/5, or at least, a 4.5/5. However, I did have a few problems with it. I felt it was a bit too long, and I found myself growing rather tired of the descriptiveness at some point. Also, I found the concept of magic in the book rather difficult to understand. There were parts that confused me quite a lot.

In spite of those, it was a really good read, and definitely recommended, especially if you like vivid, descriptive writing.


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