⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 stars
“The circus arrives without warning.”
The first sentence is bordering on iconic, it sets the mood instantly, raises your expectations and lets you know that you’re in for a treat. The Night Circus is written in present tense, set in the past and plays out over a span of 30 years. It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the writing, but I soon grew to love it. It fits the story because it creates a sense of urgency, which made me as a reader more engaged in the story.
The characters were interesting, but I wanted to get to know them and I never felt I quite got there. The person I cared about most and felt closest to was Bailey. His journey of finding his place in the world took me through sadness and all the way to heartwarming happiness. It made me admire his strength to follow his heart and it inspired me. Marco and Celia were not my favorite and I had trouble caring about their relationship outside of their roles in the game. Despite their relationship blossoming over a span of years it felt too instant.
At first the rêveurs seemed a little ridiculous to me. That didn’t last long. I can see how attending a mysterious circus filled to the brim with magic can become addicting. It’s an escape from the utterly terrifying predictability of ordinary existence. To be able to spend just one night in a place like Le Cirque des Rêves, to experience the almost tangible magic and mystery in the air, must be electrifying. The Night Circus is the embodiment of extraordinary.
Going in I did not expect it to stand out to me the way that it did. I’m not a fan of the circus aesthetics and I generally prefer fleshed out magic systems. But the atmosphere and mystery that Erin Morgenstern has crafted within a rather dull historical setting, is magical and otherworldly in the best possible way. It made me fall in love. The story is amazingly well rounded, tying up loose ends nicely (although some a little too rushed) and an ending that leaves you satisfied yet hungry for more.
I devoured it in a matter of days, feasting on the sheer beauty of this well-crafted story. The directness of the writing piqued my curiosity at every turn and magical secrets exposed themselves in the conclusion of a cruel game played by masters and executed by innocent pawns. It is most definitely a tale of accepting one’s fate, but not giving in, not viewing it as a loss, but circumventing it, reimagining it, overcoming it and in the end using it in one’s favor.
Overall I had few problems with the characters and some of the particulars relating to the execution of the story, but not enough to sway my opinion in the opposite direction. After all, nothing is perfect and if it was it would be boring. The Night Circus is a wonderfully enchanting story from start to finish. It is a story that will stay with me, and in my book, that’s the best kind of story.