The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 13th, 2011 by Doubleday
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: 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.
Back before I was really into book blogging and reviewing and mainly just living life on Bookstagram, I read The Night Circus. I was completely drawn into this world that Erin created. I could not believe that something this magical could exist. So when I heard that she was writing another book, The Starless Sea, I knew I had to make sure and get my review up for one of my favorite books!
The Night Circus was the first book that I had really read and enjoyed in the Adult Fantasy category. This book tiptoes the line of reality and fantasy and that’s what really makes this whimsical story so entrancing. It is intriguing, full of breathtaking world building that sets your imagination on fire. I am a sucker for star crossed lovers and this story delivers. However, it is so much more than romance. There are so many cogs in this story that keep it turning, every detail is rich and necessary, every character having different motivations for their actions. I just adored this book.
Things that worked for me (could be considered slightly spoilery):
- This story being told in different perspectives. Not only are we getting Celia and Marco, but we get characters like Bailey who honestly may have been one of my favorites.
- The fact that this is a standalone! I am a sucker for a good series and the ending of this wrapped up in a way that still left me with feelings of wonder but with enough closure that I’m happy.
- The star crossed lovers. Marco and Celia were just such an amazing couple to ship. Both of their powers, natural vs learned, played such a heavy role in building this world (and circus).
- The cast of characters who were just so unique from one another.
Things that didn’t work for me (could be considered slightly spoilery):
- Alternating timelines – this wasn’t a huge deal for me as far as changing what I loved about the story AT ALL, but I was listening to this via audio and I kept finding myself totally lost. I switched to the hard copy and it was much easier to understand. Jim Dale is an amazing narrator but I am a SAHM and if I wasn’t paying 100% attention I would immediately drift.
Overall, this book is by far one of my favorite standalones of all time. It’s such a magical book. I have heard a lot of people compare this to Caraval and honestly I could *see* some resemblance but I don’t think it’s a fair comparison at all. I think these are two vastly different stories about a circus and I just loved it!
You can purchase The Night Circus at most online retailers or find it in your local bookstores! Don’t forget to check out The Starless Sea on Goodreads! Expected publication is November 5th, 2019!