Book Review | The Night Circus

I finished The Night Circus this week. When I read The Starless Sea in February and didn’t enjoy it, a bunch of readers told me to read this one, promising that it would be a different, much better experience. They weren’t wrong … but they weren’t entirely right either.

The Night Circus

A little more about The Night Circus:

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.

My thoughts

I will start my review by reflecting on the synopsis (above) because that was my largest issue with the book. I can’t help but wonder if the person who wrote the synopsis read the book. Did the author write her own synopsis? Did she realize it didn’t match the book she wrote? Who wrote the synopsis?!

After reading the book description, I expected to be thrown into a world with magical duels … but this “fierce competition” in the book is anything but. Sure, the “remarkable battle of imagination and will” is a little more accurate, but if you’re expecting anything fast-paced and exciting, you won’t get that with this book. You’ll just witness two characters who create tents and magical things for each other and call that fierce competition. Really lame and very flat.

Speaking of flat, Celia and Marco “tumbling” in love … eh? Yeah, when they touch hands things happen, but the characters are so two-dimensional that their love for each other seems forced and only for plot purposes. One moment, they are talking and clearly interested in each other for “competition” purposes. The next, they are hiding and kissing and in love with no context in-between. Not to mention, their first interaction and second “in love” interaction happens in a span of three years. Yeesh. I was lost.

This book promises a high stakes, competition-driven, heartbreaking romance, but the execution of the book was saturated. Don’t get me wrong — Morgenstern knows how to write flowery prose that captures your attention, but it’s almost used as a guise to hide her lack of skill in details and plot cohesion. So, again, the same issues that I found in The Starless Sea (her later work), were ever so present in The Night Circus. Lame. I don’t want to read a book JUST for its beautiful language. Especially if it is lacking in all of the areas that make it … a book?

Everything just seemed so fragmented, from the disconnect to the basic premise of the book to the disjointed storyline. Bouncing between timelines got very confusing . I kind of stopped paying attention because I just couldn’t keep track of the dates and times anymore. It got too much.

I am still working through my emotions here, but I liked the world that she created and the magic within the text. Despite all of the characters being flat, despite the lack of duel or anything of that nature, despite the not-so-convincing love story between Celia and Marco, I still read it in a few days. On Sunday, I read about 300 pages, not putting it down until it was completed. I just wish the author would pay more attention to her characters and plot.

After this experience, I have decided not to read any more of her books — even if she writes fantasy books.

Anyone else? Who has read The Night Circus? Did you love it or hate it? Do you agree or disagree with my views?

November Hopefuls

Ahh, November. One of my favorite months. Not only is it my birthday month, but autumn is in full swing. Leaves are fully peaked and falling, the weather is crisp, and you get to pack on layers of cozy sweaters and drink hot beverages all day.

I love Thanksgiving and I love preparing for the holidays, so, November is really where it’s at.

In November, I love to dive back into my favorite genres: historical fiction and fantasy. I like to read big, chunky books during the winter months. I love cozying up in my nook with a cup of tea and getting lost in a story. I have two months left to meet my Goodreads goal, and I have some PLANS.

Let’s get to November:

Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab

Vicious (Villains, #1)

I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue last year and did not enjoy it, but readers have encouraged me to give her Villains and Darker Shades of Magic series a try, so here I am! I am about 30% through this one already and it is definitely intriguing. Excited to see what comes out of it.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code

I really enjoyed The Alice Network and look forward to reading Quinn’s latest book, The Rose Code. I’ve seen some great reviews on bookstagram for this one. This one is THICK, but I always fly through historical fiction books. The Rose Code is about three women who broke German military codes during the war and how they are torn apart by a series of events.

Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab

Vengeful (Villains, #2)

If all goes well with Vicious, I will be picking up the second book in Schwab’s Villains series (I believe a third one is in the works!)

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night Road

Another Kristin Hannah. This one I plan on reading via audiobook. Knowing Hannah, I will make sure the tissues are nearby.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

Now this one I am looking forward to! I read The Starless Sea this year and wasn’t a fan, but readers informed me this one is breathtaking. I also read that Morgenstern wrote this book during NaNoWriMo, which I will be participating in this year! I have this one in paperback and audio, so I will most likely do a mix and match with this book.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The cover alone has me interested, but give me a historical fiction about public libraries, suffrage, feminism … I am HERE for it.


What are you reading this month? Have any of these made it on to your list?

And, see what I’ve read so far in 2021!

January Wrap-Up

February Wrap-Up

March Wrap-Up

April Wrap-Up

May to September Wrap-Up

October Wrap-Up