The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Book Review

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Some people say you should not judge the book by its cover, I disagree. I picked this book at the charity shop purely because of the cover and was not disappointed. The Night Circus is a very enchanting book with interesting fantasy elements and it creates a small pocket-world within our reality. It is full of magic, romance and imagination in the Victorian times.

The story is quite simple in main lines – two powerful magicians enter their students into a binding competition, where they have to prove their abilities. To make this competition more challenging than ever before, they chose the Night Circus to become the arena for presenting competitors’ skills. The students, Celia and Marco, are trained very differently, but non of them fully understands the rules of the game. They just have to do their best to impress their masters. With time, “Le Cirque des Reves” becomes very special for both of them and for many other people who are involved with the circus or have become true admirers. The circus is only opened at the nigh time and travels around the world unannounced – one day there is an empty field, the next – there is the circus. The circus has very special way of entertaining the customers – everything is black and white, and each tent is incredibly special. It is like a love letter between the competitors. But is it all just a game that will end one day? Who will be the victor?

I love the ideas in this book, like, that people are not recognising magic even when they see it – they will rather deceive themselves by thinking it is all just a clever trick. I really like the ideas for the tents and performances. I would really love to visit  a circus like this. The book is written in present tense all the way through. Also, the time of the chapters is a mix of events in different years. It is not linear. Not sure, if I like this style or not, but it worked for this particular book. I think that the characters could be developed better and have a little bit more revealed about them. There is not much going on, but the descriptive parts work well with imagination. I find some characters quite interesting, but I can’t say that Marco and Celia are my favourites. I prefer Poppet and Widget. I like the surrealism of this book, but I find it lacking in action and interesting personal developments. I certainly hope there will be a movie, it should be very spectacular. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and rate it by 8 out of 10. It reminded me a lot of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke in the feeling and boundaries of magic. I guess the masters could be very similar to Mr. Norrel and Jonatan Strange in their characters and approach to things. I would definitely recommend The Night Circus to anyone, who wants to be taken on a magical journey.

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