Oh, my Hogwarts! This author is a genius. This review is long overdue. Most probably because I did not know where to start. There are so many facets to The Night Circus, that it is almost impossible to keep the review short and simple. With each comment an intricate and detailed opinion is waiting to make itself known.
Keeping to the mysterious ambiance of the story, I don’t plan on giving a summary of the novel. Instead, I’ll give you a taste of what you can expect:
Erin Morgernstern’s The Night Circus is a tale about a mysterious circus, the people who created it, formed part of it, and an epic battle between two powerful magicians. It is a tale about love.
The Night Circus deserves a standing ovation. However, before I get started on why I loved this novel so much, let’s first have a look at some of the aspects that had me stumbling to read it, at first.
When I started reading The Night Circus my whole body was tingling with excitement as I waited for the magical mystery of this story to overtake my heart and soul. I just knew that I was about to fall in love.
Slightly to my dismay, I didn’t fall in love with the story immediately. I did however, fall in love with the writing and the poetical melody the words formed in my head whilst reading. It was all so magical and mysterious since the beginning. I guess, for that reason, I struggled to connect with the story at first: It was a form of writing that I haven’t read in a while and I needed to get better acquainted with it. I could appreciate the beautifully structured sentences and descriptions, but as with all good things, the story started slowly and detailed, and it I didn’t connect with the story immediately.
Which in a way, I was okay with – I wasn’t planning on putting the book down. I could feel something great unravelling. If I could put a bit of personal experience in here: Social media and mainstream movies and series have changed the way we interact with stories and storytelling. Today everything is fast paced, and we get pulled into stories straight from the bat – be it with giveaways, passionate love scenes or explosive action. We have forgotten to appreciate slow living, finer details, and deeper feelings. That, however, is a discussion for another blog post.
Another reason I believe that it took me a little while to get invested into the story and the characters, is the multiple voices and perspectives. The writer gives us insight into most (if not all) of the characters from this book, by allowing all the characters to tell a piece of the story from their perspective. Personally, I think this is brilliant, but also personally, it is an aspect that makes it a bit harder for me to connect with characters instantly. I’m not just focusing on one character, but several, and this means it is going to take a while for me to get to know them and truly connect. However, this does not mean that I do not like this form of storytelling. It just meant that I had to learn to grow with the story and the characters as I got to know them. Despite being an obstacle for me at the start, it ended up being one of my favourite aspects of the structure of this book: Reading the story from various perspectives, meant that I did not only get invested in the goal of my characters, but I got invested in the story as a whole. So, in the end, this is not really a con, but a winning factor to the novel.
Please, don’t get me wrong: The above-mentioned details are not flaws of the novel. It was merely my initial response when I started with the story. In all honesty, I believe these two factors (the poetical, mysterious writing style and the chapters from various perspectives) are what contributes to the great success and beauty of The Night Circus. Also, despite my initial “obstacles,” the more I read, the harder it became to put the book. I was intrigued by what was coming. Which brings me to one of my other favourite aspects of this novel: The mystery.
Mystery was woven into every single detail of The Night Circus: The poetical phrases, the structure of the novel, introducing the characters to us bit by bit, experiencing one character’s dilemma and then introducing us to the worldly dilemma, and jumping back and forward into time until it all comes together as one. It is like this thread of fate was carried between all these characters, across time, across space.
Then we have the characters. I don’t plan on giving you summaries on the characters either. I want you to experience them for yourselves, in the same why I have. What I appreciated mostly about this novel, was probably the fact that it felt like every character got a voice. You rarely encountered a one-dimensional character. Sure, there were characters I felt were more evil than others, but even those characters had depth to them.
Which brings me to the big battle. There was no big hero versus evil mastermind final battle. We have our characters who try to do the right thing, but this didn’t mean going out and challenging the antagonist to a duel to the death. Their battle was more complicated than life or death. It was about overcoming evil in more than one form. They didn’t overcome their evil by smashing it against a wall. They overcame their evil by doing good by others and themselves. To me, that is the only real way to defeat evil.
According to me, this author needs to get knighted and a seat at the round table. There were so many tiny details throughout the novel. Some which you didn’t even notice at first, but as you near the end of the story you see how the smallest of details can contribute to such a large tale.
This story really gives you a satisfying and wholesome feeling in your heart after you have read it. Everything has fallen into place, like a well-organised plan that stretched over lifetimes. This tale isn’t without sadness, and it isn’t without challenges, but that is what makes it so human.
If you are a lover of the mysterious and magical, and someone who can appreciate good writing and fine details then this is definitely the book for you.