Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: The Night Circus, A Review by Rhiannon Marie

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
ISBN: 9780385534635
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Theme: Dreamlike Circus
Binding: Hardcover
Length: 387 pages
Published: September 13, 2011
Rhiannon's Rating:


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.

Rhiannon Marie's Review: The circus does indeed arrive without warning and as you proceed chapter by chapter, tent by tent through this book, your eyes are opened to a magical world of unlimited possibilities. In The Night Circus, nothing is impossible!

This book was truly an enjoyable and entrancing read. Morgenstern writes in a unique way that can occasionally get confusing when you first start reading. Every chapter discusses a different point-of-view from one or multiple characters. At the same time, the story jumps back and forth between the future and past. It doesn't go into flashbacks, it simply tells the story in a way that--had this certain event not happened at this particular time--the story would be quite different. While reading through the book, you begin to realize that time plays a key factor in every chapter. This is mentioned quite often by multiple characters.

All of the characters in this book were very well developed. You learn pieces of each character's story that are spread apart in every chapter until they all come together in the end. Everybody has their secrets, such as: the romance between illusionist rivals Celia and Marco, the shady past of the contortionist, the unique gifts of the red-headed twins, and what a few of the characters discover about the man in the gray suit. Every character and their secrets play a part in the game with the circus as the gameboard, where there can only be one victor in the end.

Readers may be caught off guard at first because the book doesn't jump right into the love of the romancing illusionists. In fact, they date other people at first. Which, in reality, you really can't expect to fall head over heels for your rival the first time you meet them in most cases...Celia and Marco prove themselves as worthy opponents as well as proving themselves as true lovers, potentially making the circus a dream come true. Other characters also play small supporting-yet pivotal-roles in the game.

If I were to choose a character I favored in this book, I would definitely say the contortionist, Tsukiko. Although her role starts out small and almost unnoticed, as the story moves along, she proves to be one of the more intelligent and significant characters that just might know a thing or two about the entire series of events that take place within the circus. She will in fact catch readers off guard once her secret past is revealed. Another character that will definitely confuse the heck out of readers is this little boy named Bailey. Bailey is mentioned once near the beginning of the book. Needless to say, he is not mentioned again until the book is halfway over. It eventually turns out that the fate of this child will be determined by the one major decision he makes. This decision, in return, will affect the fate of everyone else in the circus as well. On an ironic and off topic note, does The Barnum and Bailey Circus ring a bell?

Besides Bailey and his ironic name, an interesting thing that may confuse readers about the book is that before every chapter there is a unique short event pertaining to the story being told by a secret third party. I will not say who because that would ruin the awesome reaction you get when you discover why these random stories are being told. As I've already said, nothing is impossible in The Night Circus. I personally thought it was pretty cool whereas, not every reader may enjoy this particular style of introducing a new chapter.

The timeline is another thing that may confuse readers. When I read the first few chapters, I'll admit, I had to flip back and forth to figure out whether an event with one character was before or after the current event I was reading with another character. It does get really confusing and after a while, I figured it may be easier to NOT pay so much attention to the exact timing of the events because everything DOES come together in the end. Some readers may take this approach while others may prefer to pay strict attention to the timeline.

Once you get used to the timeline and random stories before each chapter, the book will definitely make for a great and unique adventure. In my honest opinion, I don't believe Morgenstern will make a sequel. The book pretty much ends in a way that keeps the story contained to a single volume rather than creating another new problem in the end. Just about all of the problems in the story come to a neutral resolution. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something different considering there really aren't many well-known circus themed books yet.

It truly was the circus of dreams. So what are you waiting for? Your book is your ticket, and your time is the key. I promise you that when you finally leave the circus, you may no longer be certain of which side of the fence is the dream.

Reviewed By: Rhiannon Marie

(Like Rhiannon's review and want to know more about her? View her guest blogger info HERE)


  1. Always looking for a good book!! Newest follower!! Come over and take a look at my chaos!! ;)

  2. I loved this book! the imagery was just amazing!
    So unique with the storyline as well.

    1. Thanks, Kindlemom! My guest blogger, Rhiannon, did a great job with her review and now I am envious of you and her that you've both already read this book! It's been sitting on my shelf for awhile now. I've just been soooo busy reading other stuff for reviews. I think you have convinced me to somehow bump it up on my must read list :)

      Mia at The Muses Circle

  3. I found you through blogaholic. I'm your newest follower. Stop by

  4. I'm a sucker for packaging and this book has a fabulous cover. This excellent review has clinched the deal and now I must read The Night Circus! Thanks to Rhiannon and Mia!

  5. Awww, I will pass along the compliment to my guest blogger, Rhi! She did a great job on the review, so I'm glad you like!

    Rhiannon is working on reviewing the book & movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I think she is going to do a review/comparison. So I promise to send you a link once that gets posted.

    Thanks my sister Muse!