Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

I liked The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, but I didn’t LOVE it. I wanted to; I really did. The cover made my eyes sparkle, and my imaginings of what a night circus might be made my heart go “bumpity bump.” In fact, my desire to love this book was so strong that hope carried me to the very end, although I was irritated and grumpy the entire trip. Why? Well, probably because I felt the story could have been, should have been, “more.”

First, the publisher’s book description, which I found entrancing:
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 state 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.

I soon found out the publisher’s description promised more than the book would deliver.  Here’s what I liked. I liked the premise – a mysterious and very different circus that wondrously arrives in the night. I liked the promise – a battle between magical powers and star-crossed lovers. I liked the physical - the elaborate visuals woven by Morganstern. Click On Read More Below...
Erin Morganstern, pictured.

Here’s what I didn’t like. I never seemed to develop a “give-a-damn” about the characters, which is always a story killer for me. The plotline sometimes seemed too vague and at other times too obvious. I found myself alternately feeling confused and angry.

Since The Night Circus received an average of four stars on, I think you may want to read it and be your own judge.  I found it curious that so many people, including myself, had higher expectations. The idea was superior; the book was not.

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