Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

This book has been on my Amazon wish list for a long time. I finally got a copy as a birthday present, and was ecstatic.

Firstly, I have to say what made me want it was the cover. It's just so beautiful and elegant. The circus and the well-dressed old fashioned couple on the front are wonderful, all in black and white, with just a dash of silver and red.The man in looks particularly charismatic. Underneath the cover is the face of a clock. The most intriguing clock, as it doesn't have any numbers or numerals on it. And if you open up the cover there are white top hats and bowler hats on a black background, the odd few red. But what got me is the pages. Every page lined with black so it looks like the book has a velvet side. I love it when the pages are coloured that way. and to top it off, a red bookmark.
So basically, it was the most beautiful book I'd ever seen and I had to have it.
Then there's the blurb, also particularly intriguing.

All we know is that there is a circus that comes at night, the Cirque du Reves (the circus of dreams), and two people have been bound.
The Beautiful Cover. Image from Google.
The plot was interesting, I loved the premise and all the ideas surrounding it, but I still feel that there could have been more in detail descriptions so that I could fully appreciate the circus, although it does make it more mysterious not to have them. The atmosphere of the whole tale is beautiful.
Saying this, some of the ideas within the tents were wonderful, I especially loved the cloud maze, bottle room and ice garden, and the descriptions of these were perfect.
Now for the bad bit.

The game itself, although connected to the circus, was not as exciting as I wanted it to be. The whole book was more about the ethereal and mysterious nature of magic, and less about any kind of magical battle/duel. It isn't as quickly paced as anticipated. The love scenes, however, were well written, with just enough detail, but not too much information. Although Marco is incredibly fickle, too much so for my liking, and they are a little quick to fall in love.

The main characters were good, especially Bailey and Marco, as I thought that they developed well, although others did not. This may have been because there were so many different characters, and so not many characters got a spotlight, the ones that did are not especially well developed, like Celia, but others are much better. Too many characters was a major downfall of this book, as most of them were not well rounded, and did not serve much of a purpose in the book. Characters such as Isobel, Mr. Barris and Madame Padva.
However, Alexander is a very good character. he is the perfect concoction of mystery and intrigue, with a cloudy, elongated past and never revealing his true feelings or intentions. Although the author dos not make it clear why there is a competition between Alexander and Prospero, you feel that Alexander has a good reason.

Balance, time and stories were some very interesting themes associated with the book, and I would have liked them to be explored more, and can only hope that it will be in the future.
Overall this is an intriguing book with some beautiful ideas, concepts, descriptions and mysteries, but there are far too many characters to the author to keep up with (it felt like each character was hanging by a loose thread, whilst being juggled precariously) and the plot was not quite as snappy as I would have liked it to be. So I'm awarding it 3/5 stars.

This nook has divided views a lot. So here are some more:
The Guardian Review
Erin Morganstern's Blog

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