Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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 Reves," 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 per-formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


The Night Circus has always been a book that I wanted to read. There has been a tremendous buzz going on ever since the release. Next to the published book, I also heard a lot of positive things about the audio book release by Jim Dale. Instead of reading it I choose the option of the audioversion. And I am wowed. The Night Circus is a story about magic to name just one thing. The introduction to this book with the music in the background really got me excited to listen to the remainder of it. Furthermore Jim Dale is a terrific narrator, I rally have to give him a hand, with all the different perspective it must have been a very difficult job to get everything right and make the reader understand what is going on where. Added to this comes the accent of Jim Dale that really completes the story, giving a truly magical feeling and leaving you sad once the story is over. 

Now for the story. It is grande, it is spectacular and it is magical. The story picks up rather easy with the start of a new competition between two magicians. In the past there has been a very competitive race between Hector Bowen who also goes by the name of Prospero the Enchanter and Alexander, who is also known as Mr. A.H. These two lead Le Cirque des Reces. Both Hector and Alexander pick a new student to continue their competition. Hector chooses his daughter Celia Bowen to enter the fray and Alexander chooses Marco Alisdair who he choose from an orphanage. Celia gets her training from real experience, sing Hectos is an accomplished magician himself, Marco receives more knowledge from books. With both wards in training the competition is set of, but none of them really know how to win it and what to do, it comes down to trying to out do the other. From this point onwards in the story it basically comes down to seeing how Celia and Marco go about using their powers to help the circus attract customers. The story of The Night Circus spans about 30 years and in those years somethings do happen. Shown by the different storylines. In the end you find the cause of the competition, and I frankly had expected a bit more.

I do have to mention that plotwise the book was a bit of a let down for me. Yes you have the on gaoing competition but that is it. I said that this story if grande, spectacular and magical and in many different ways it is, but more due to the amazing atmosphere that Erin Morgenstern has created within the book and which Jim Dale readily brought to life. But storywise alone, there were parts that just dragged a bit to much and I would have like to have seen more of a stronger plotline from the start and perhaps with the mentioning of an fierce competition something of a fiery magical display. Don't get me wrong the magic that is shown is really elusive and allows you to dream away with it but I had expected more. 

In terms of creating the right atmosphere, The Night Circus, hits all the right spots multiple times. I loved the whole setting that was introduced in the book from start to finish, but a book isn't only made by the setting there are a lot of different factors the plot of course and for that just missed the mark a bit. For me more focus on only a few characters and a stronger plot line would have completely finished this book.

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