Whimsical, magical, and romantic, the Night Circus is a beautiful character-driven fantasy story for anyone who wants to get lost in pages of beautiful writing. This Night Circus book review will walk you through everything you need to know before picking up this adult fantasy romance.
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The Night Circus Book Review
This is one of those books that I absolutely adore, but have a really hard time recommending to people. The Night Circus has a very unique style to it and it won’t be for everyone. I feel like this is one of those books where you need to really know your reading tastes in order to decide to pick up. For me, it is perfect! A beautifully whimsical and romantic read.
Hopefully, this review will help you get to know a little bit more when it comes to what to expect from this standalone fantasy book. That way you can decide if it sounds like something you want to read, you can pick it up and enjoy it just as much as I did.
The Night Circus Synopsis
First and foremost, you should probably know the synopsis of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is a standalone fantasy book that revolves around a magical traveling circus called the Le Cirque des Rêves.
We have a few main characters. One is Celia, a female magician who is trained by her harsh father from a very young age. Then we have Marco. He is an orphan magician trained by an equally harsh caretaker. When they are very young, Marco and Celia are set on a path that entwines their entire lives. They are entered into a magical competition that they know nothing about. Their caretakers know, but they have to figure it out on their own. So their whole lives become about competing with each other, though they don’t know who the other is, what the contest is, how to win, or what happens when they win.
We also follow another young boy, though he seems like a side character until much later. He wants nothing more than to escape his small-town life and is obsessed with the Le Cirque des Rêves.
All of their lives collide in surprising ways under the tents of the magical traveling circus.
Whimsy and Nonsense
The first thing you need to know about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is that it is extremely whimsical and nonsensical. What I mean by that is the world sometimes doesn’t make sense and neither does the magic.
This is not a hard magic system the way Brandon Sanderson writes. It is very soft and you really just have to accept that it is the way it is. We accept that magic just happens and that a magical circus can appear and disappear in a moment.
If you are able to just dive into the beautiful writing and suspend your disbelief, then you will love this book. In a lot of fantasy books, things don’t always need to make sense. Sometimes magic is just there. It is part of the accepted world and we don’t know why or how, it’s okay.
So if you like whimsy and a soft magic system, then this may just be a perfect book for you.
Super Slow Burn Romance
So this book takes place over an entire lifetime. We start when Celia and Marco are children and the book ends with them as full-grown adults. There is a beautiful romance in this book, but it is a very slow burn.
The Night Circus does slow burn well, and the payoff is worth it. Don’t go into this book expecting smut or anything like that though. The romance is sweet and beautiful and quite innocent even with the passion that you can feel radiating from the two main characters.
Romance is a big focus of this book. Romance and competition and how they have to overcome all of the obstacles in their way.
Erin Morgenstern has a very beautiful and lyrical writing style. This may not work for everyone, but it works for me. Though it is more lyrical, I never found it overly descriptive or unnecessary.
Everything has a purpose, even beautiful writing. At no point does it feel pretentious either. Sometimes this writing style can feel that way, but I think the author does a great job at finding a balancing act between beautiful writing and getting to the point.
This writing style will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it really makes this story work well. The story itself is whimsical, and the writing really lends itself to making you feel the whimsy.
The Night Circus is Meant to be Read More than Once
This is a hill that I will absolutely die on. This book is beautiful, but it is meant to be read more than once. On reread, you pick up on so many more things. There are so many small details hidden within the words that you absolutely need to reread them in order to pick up on everything.
It is one of those books, like Morgenster’s other book the Starless Sea, that really lends itself to a reread.
It is also a book that you should read slowly with intent. I wouldn’t recommend flying through it. Take your time and enjoy the magical world that the author is crafting.
The Night Circus is a Character-Driven Story
Some people like plot-heavy stories, and some want character-driven ones. This is completely the latter. While we do have a plot pushing the story forward, I do feel like the characters are the most important part of this book.
You really get to dive into the minds and feelings of these characters. There is a lot of time spent in their heads and learning their personal motivations.
That being said, this can make the story feel a little slow at times. For me, it didn’t bother me at all since I was engrossed, but I could see it being an issue for people who want a quick-moving book.
The Atmosphere is a Character
The Night Circus is an extremely atmospheric book. The atmosphere and setting can be considered a character for sure.
When you are in the circus scenes, you can almost taste the caramel corn and smell the cotton candy. The author truly makes this book come alive with her atmospheric lyrical writing. You will feel so many emotions and be ready to head out to the circus yourself after reading this.
So, Should I Read the night Circus?
The answer to this question is really up to you. If you know you enjoy a semi-slow, lyrical read that you can get lost in, then pick this one up! Personally, I think it is a beautiful book that deserves to be read more than once.