The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThere’s something to be said about a book that stays with you long after you’ve read it. Or when you pawn your copy off on every friend you know is capable of reading. And then your book club reads it, and you’re just thrilled to have another excuse to talk about it.

It’s been nearly two months since I finished reading The Night Circus, and yet I still find myself singing its praises on a rather frequent basis. If anyone asks me what I think they should be reading, I immediately suggest this book. They’ll ask what it’s about, intrigued, but I get too excited and tongue-tied to give a proper description. So I’ll save you the trouble of listening to me ramble and give you the description from Amazon instead:

Erin Morgenstern’s dark, enchanting debut takes us to the black and white tents of Le Cirque des Reves, a circus that arrives without warning, simply appearing when yesterday it was not there. Young Celia and Marco have been cast into a rivalry at The Night Circus, one arranged long ago by powers they do not fully understand. Over time, their lives become more intricately enmeshed in a dance of love, joy, deceit, heartbreak, and magic. Author Morgenstern knows her world inside and out, and she guides the reader with a confident hand. The setting and tone are never less than mesmerizing. The characters are well-realized and memorable. But it is the Night Circus itself that might be the most memorable of all.

Every word of that is accurate. From the very first page, when introduced to the circus, you are sucked in. With it’s simple color scheme, fantastical clocks, sights and smells, acts and magic, it’s almost depressing to think such a thing doesn’t actually exist. In a clever twist, I found the circus to be the main character, outshining even Marco and Celia. It’s so fully realized, so beautiful, and so full of life that I could read 400 pages of that and never be bored. Each tent is full of whimsical magic that, were it a real thing, I’d probably wind up following the circus around the globe like many of the people in the book. Because everything is described in such perfect, minute detail, it’s easy to picture the setting in your mind, and place yourself within it. Books are meant to be an escape, and this is one of the only books I’ve read where I actually felt as though I’d been transported elsewhere.

But the rest of the characters are just as interesting and unique as the circus that surrounds them. Marco and Celia’s story is compelling yet heartbreaking, and regardless of the fact that these two have been pitted against each other in a macabre contest of skills, you can’t pick one over the other because you don’t want either of them to lose. You want them to be able to overcome their  circumstances so badly that on more than one occasion I found myself hunched desperately over the book, mentally pleading with the author to do something, already! Fix this! There has to be something you can do! It’s rare that I get so emotionally invested in a piece of fiction, but this book took me on a roller coaster of emotions. And I loved every minute.

What’s so great about this story is that it’s like a giant puzzle the reader has to piece together. Details you don’t think are important are exactly the opposite, and while you may not understand something in the beginning, the fog fades after a while. Everything is put together so carefully, and it isn’t until you turn the last page that you realize how much work went into constructing the narrative. Everything happens for a reason, whether it’s good or bad. It takes true skill to weave a tale like this one, and Erin Morgenstern absolutely blew me away. Not only is this a fantastic debut novel, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve read…ever.

(And if you still need any convincing, think The Illusionist meets The Prestige. Basically, all things awesome.)


15 Responses to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. Vasiliki Feb 20 2012 at 5:58 am #

    I was thinking about this book the other day when i saw it at the bookstore. You’ve convinced me now, it will be the next book i read 🙂

    • Sammy Bina Feb 20 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Trust me, that’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

  2. Julie Feb 20 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Great recommendation, Sammy! Your enthusiasm for this book is contagious; I will definitely read it! 🙂

    • Sammy Bina Feb 20 2012 at 11:22 am #

      I’m kind of shameless with my love for this book. I can’t even stop myself :-p I hope you like it, though!

  3. Jen McAndrews Feb 20 2012 at 9:56 am #

    So great to learn about another reader who fell under the spell of this book. I’m with you on this book remaining vivid long after the last page is turned. And the temptationto buy a red scarf to wear with my black coat is nearly overwhelming 🙂
    great recommendation!

    • Sammy Bina Feb 20 2012 at 11:22 am #

      ….I may have already purchased that scarf.

      Like I said, I have a problem :-p

  4. Erin Bowman Feb 20 2012 at 10:04 am #

    The circus is hands down the best character in this book. If those black and white striped tents popped up in a meadow beyond my house, I would be there in a HEART BEAT. Great review, Sammy!

    • Sammy Bina Feb 20 2012 at 11:23 am #

      Right?! I would DIE if such a thing existed.

      But did you hear? I believe Lion’s Gate bought the film rights. Or maybe it was Summit. One of the two. But this could be SUCH a fantastic movie!

  5. Leigh Bardugo Feb 20 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I read the first few pages of this and had to slam it shut. It was too bloody good! I was in the middle of writing Book 2 and decided I was a complete hack. I look forward to finishing it in the year 2013 😉

  6. Jess Feb 20 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I really enjoyed this book ! I think it’s a great debut novel for Morgenstern.

  7. savannahjfoley Feb 22 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Definitely going to purchase now. Thanks, Sammy!

  8. Petra Feb 23 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Sounds amazing! I’ve been wanting to read this. I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on a copy sooner rather than later.

  9. Petra Feb 23 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Sounds amazing! I’ve been wanting to read this. I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on a copy sooner rather than later 🙂

  10. Kerstin Aug 4 2013 at 10:21 am #

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    that kind of info in such a perfect approach of writing?

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