Monday, June 24, 2013

The Night Circus review

I decided to wait a couple days before doing this review because the people I know who've already read it loved it, and then I've seen reviews from those who just didn't like it whatsoever. I myself picked it up on the recommendations of others and because it takes place during the Victorian period. The final conclusion though? I'm somewhere in the middle.

Written by Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus itself is the backdrop for a match between two magicians, their competitive guardians, and the outcome that perhaps none were expecting. Beginning in the 1870s, it jumps between different dates as integral characters are introduced and developed, finally ending in the modern day.

We meet Marco and Celia as children, two strangers whose only relation is the long standing rivalry between her father and his guardian. Both are trained at an early age in the art of magic, they meet years later against the backdrop of the newly developed Night Circus or Les Cirque des Reves. This is not your typical circus. There are numerous tents instead of one. Everything and everyone is in black and white, there is no color. And there is no schedule, it simply arrives without warning.

Morgenstern's writing style throughout the book is entrancing, transporting the reader to the dreamworld that the circus itself seems to be made of. The characters are well-developed, the story unique and intriguing, and the narrative absolutely beautiful. One part The Prestige, one part HBO's Carnival, and equal parts mystery and love story, the balance makes a good story.

However, the offset for me was the development of the story. The initial setup of everything and the necessary back stories was somewhat drawn out (over half the book) to the point that I kept putting it up and putting it down. With no huge plot twist or sudden turn of events, I was finding it hard to keep at the book. It wasn't until the last third that I suddenly found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. So in the end, I did enjoy the book, but the rather slow beginning was a bit of a put off.

On the plus side, it must be noted that the movie rights have been optioned by Summit Entertainment and the screenplay is currently in production. If The Night Circus is made into a movie, I look forward to it to see how they adapted the story, but also for also those gorgeous black and white costumes that Celia wears in the book. 

Overall rating - 3 out of 5

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