Night Circus

Description from Goodreads:

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.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has 400 pages and was published in 2011 by Doubleday.

The Night Circus is the story of a magical competition that occurs within the confines of a travelling circus.  We follow two young magicians throughout their life as they prepare and eventually engage in a competition that neither fully understands.  Specifically, what is the competition?  Who is the other competitor?  What are the rules?  How do you win?

This novel definitely has an interesting premise even if the execution left much to be desired.  Morgenstern is certainly a master of beautiful prose.  With that being said, this book lacks any real depth or cohesion.  The story line is all over the place as each chapter jumps back and forth throughout time.  This structural detail detracts from the overall story and a simpler timeline would have been much easier for the reader to follow.

Other problems include one-dimensional characters, uninspiring magic and a messy ending that leaves more questions than it answers.

The Night Circus is an entertaining novel despite all of this.  I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy and those who love circus/carnival themes.


So, let me start off by saying that overall this was an enjoyable book.  However, there are a LOT of problems with it and in the end it was just too much to ignore.

The Night Circus is absolutely filled with gorgeous, flowery prose.  The author is adept at creating a beautiful world that draws the reader in.  With her sinfully descriptive narration, the reader can easily imagine being a part of the world Morgenstern has created.

Nonetheless, several problems with this book outweigh the magical world-building, in my opinion.  One of those problems is how the book jumps around in time.  It feels extremely disorganized and is hard for the reader to keep up with.  Frankly, I felt like I should be keeping notes with a timeline to keep track of what was happening when.

I also felt like the characters needed a bit more fleshing out.  In the end, their actions and conversations are certainly forgettable  and I didn’t really feel much of a connection.  There were also a lot of questions regarding relationships left unanswered.  Particularly, what happens to everyone else besides the two main characters.

In addition, I did not really like the ending.  There was all this build-up and then just a weird ending that seemed like it was just thrown in to wrap the book up.

Have you read this book?  Did you love it?  Did you hate it?  Please, let me know your opinions in the comments.

Rating:  3 Plot Monster Spiders


Notable Quotes:

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

“But dreams have ways of turning into nightmares.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

MDW original review.  Source:  Library.


17 thoughts on “Night Circus

  1. lilisblissfulpages says:

    Oh thank God, someone who doesn’t found this book perfect… I actually posted a review of this too and I left with no star rating… Not because it deserves no star but because I just couldn’t decide what star to give it… I felt like I was manipulated by the beautiful words so that while reading my focus was not on the other aspects of the book but in the words… SO I left it unrated.. hehe..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Samantha Duffy says:

    While I really liked the book, I have to agree that I get lost in the authors words and world building, which allowed me to forget that I had no idea what was actually going on. I disliked very much that it constantly jumped around the way that it did to the point where I also thought I should be writing down notes in order to get things straight.
    Great, honest review!


  3. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    I think your points about the characters are really fair and that’s what stopped it from being a 5* read for me personally. And it did jump around a lot, so I can see why you had problems with the plotting if you don’t like that sort of thing. anyway, even though I liked this more, it was a very fair review!

    Liked by 1 person

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