Okay, so guys a thought just struck me like three minutes ago and came up with this weekly section I dubbed – Hype Busters. This is where I talk about and review books that are a constantly abuzz in the Book-world and find out whether or not it deserves the hype. I hope this gives a fresher perspective to these books and I will try my best to be fair and impartial. I should like to point out though that we are all entitled to our own opinions so I hope there won’t be any negativity in the comments.
It’s bustin’ time!
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning.
First things first – the good.
The writing was lush, atmospheric, beautiful, and tangible. The depictions of Le Cirque des Rêves had me teary-eyed because I so wanted to go there but, of course, I can’t. It really challenged my ability to imagine because everything in it was so fantastical I found it hard to really picture in my mind. And that clock! I would have loved to see that in real life. Morgenstern really pushed the boundaries of my capabilities and ingrained in me a sense of wonder and magic that lit me up from the inside. I loved how she added those little chapters in between where it gave me, the reader, the chance to experience the circus on my own, and not through the eyes of a character.
The storyline and the characters fell a little short. Plotwise, the premise was interesting – two magicians battling for supremacy by training pupils and letting them battle for them. I understood that that was the way it’s always been, that there should only be one victor, what I didn’t get was, why do they have to do it in the first place? I felt like there was no concrete explanation as to the reasons behind that contest, which sounds absurd to me and feels like a cheap plot device used by the author.
I have said that I loved those little chapters in the present, but I didn’t like the jarring transitions from the past to Bailey’s and the twins’ time. It was so confusing, and if it weren’t for the dates on every chapter header (which I rarely read), I would have been lost. As lost as a little girl would be in the winding streets of the circus. Most of the time I was so bored because the pacing was so so slow and events only started to heat up (if you could call it that) in the last few hundred pages. I was expecting that there would be a huge magical battle between the two elder magicians, since Marco and Celia aren’t obviously going to do it, but I got nothing. I honestly felt like the whole story was as bland as the character of the grey man himself.
As for the characters, I didn’t connect with any of them at all. Maybe I felt a little bit of sympathy to Isobel, who was left hanging by Marco, or with Herr Friedrick with his undying love for the circus, or even with Prospero himself, because he was a huge asshole but had more personality than the rest of them combined. Remember that part in the beginning where Celia had such an explosive temper? Well, she was a complete stranger to her original character a few chapters later. And Bailey, who was that kid? Why was he chosen to be the next proprietor? I pitied him because it felt like he was used as a scapegoat and as a dubious means to an end that was portrayed countless of times as impossible to achieve. Honestly though, I felt like the characters did possess some sparks within them – they just weren’t bright enough. And there were a lot of side characters that had interesting personalities, they just weren’t given enough screen-time, or rather, page time.
Over-all, The Night Circus is a unique world-driven book that succeeds in transporting readers to a realm they didn’t know existed within ours. It was an ode to beauty and magic that can be found if one only knows where to look and where to go. It’s characters, though forgettable, still make up a vivid tapestry that can never be properly described by words. But Erin Morgenstern did.
The circus arrives without warning. Unfortunately, it’s BUSTED.
Rating: 3 stars
♦ ♦ ♦