Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
checked out from the library

In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story.

The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.

Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway--a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.
The first thing that I think of whenever I see this synopsis is this:

Out of the Rain episode from Torchwood series 2

This book was so hyped, I was getting nervous as I waited for my hold to come in and get time to read it. I've been very disappointed in the highly hyped books, and this was getting that kind of buzz and push by the stores. In the end, I didn't fall into the group who just adore it. I liked it fine, and while it too was a push to finish by the due date, it wasn't a chore.

Morgenstern did a fantastic job with the descriptors. The descriptions were vivid, so that you have no trouble seeing the world she creates. The descriptions of Circus are so vivid, that it is rather like a blending of the surreal with a M. C. Escher print.

For me, the story seemed a bit jumbled in the middle sections of the book, when she is flipping back and forth between Celia and Marco's stories, and the twins, Widget and Poppet, and Bailey's story lines. It gets to be where it is going back and forth between two different time periods, and for a while I wasn't sure if she was doing this as a way to get the two story lines to meet up in the end, or if she is taking a "wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey" progression of time. Eventually, in the later half of the book, I was able to lose that feeling, but that was largely once the two storylines were in the same period of time.

The story itself had its moments. I mostly enjoyed the moments between Celia and Marco, and the twins and Bailey, but there were parts in between these scenes that dragged a little bit. But luckily all the chapters were fairly short, so could get away from the slow parts. And although she wrapped up the different storylines neatly, for me the ending wasn't very satisfying. I would say borrow this one if it interests you.

1 comment:

Svea said...

Thank you for this review! I have been quite curious about this book but hesitant as well; I am now of an opinion to read this after I finish my humongous TBR pile.