The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Maybe I’m too picky lately…
This one has been getting nothing but rave reviews…I really tried to LOVE this book as it is the successful product of the craziness that is Nanowrimo and, goodness knows, that in itself makes me want to buy a dozen copies! Unfortunately, though, while I did enjoy Erin Morgenstern’s debut, I did not love it.

I did love all the description of the magical circus elements and the intensity of the competition between both pairs of magicians. I also loved the duality of the lights and darks in the story, particularly in the exhibitions and through Poppet and Widget. Morgenstern’s strength is clearly in describing fantastical elements in ways that make them vividly real. I found the setting (turn of the 20th century) just perfect for the dramatic, theatrical life-changing game that played out through Celia and Marco at the hands of Prospero and Alexander.

And yet…well, I have no major complaints really. The story itself moves a little slowly sometimes. I adored most of the minor characters, but I felt some of them were unexplained and didn’t advance the story much (Isobel, Lainie and Tara, etc.). At times the plot seemed to meander around, as if waiting for the main characters to figure out what they wanted to do next. I was a bit confused when the timeline jumped back and forth (usually only across the span of a year or two, but still…there seemed no real reason for it). The climax was predictable and thus, a bit unsatisfying. Toward the end, it even felt a little as if the writer was preaching to readers about the value of storytelling, which was a bit off-putting.

Alas, The Night Circus lands firmly in the “LIKED IT” column.

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