Book Review: THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern

Two magicians, one circus, and one competition until death.



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 Rêves, 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 stage 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.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.



Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publication: September 13, 2011 by Anchor Books

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance

Target audience: Adult

Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Rating: 🌵🌵🌵 ½

The circus arrives without warning.

Never have I felt this way about a book. I mean, I am completely confused. On one hand, I loved this book and greatly enjoyed it, on the other hand, it’s not as good as everyone makes it out to be. It’s pretty bad, actually. But it didn’t dampen my enjoyment as much as it should have. Weird.

“Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl.”

A little thing that should be mentioned beforehand. Like me, you probably go in expecting the competition to be a battle à la Harry Potter. Don’t… do that. Because that’s not what it is. There’s surprisingly little action. The competition itself is really weird and doesn’t make much sense, to be honest.

“People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.”

The first big problem? The characters. The protagonists Celia and Marco are the ones competing against each other. Of course, a forbidden love begins to bloom between them. What a surprise.

The thing is, I didn’t care about them at all. Celia and Marco have no depth or personality, the only thing defining them is the competition and their love story. But how am I supposed to care for their doomed love if I don’t even care for them?

Also, the way their relationship develops is really odd. You cannot speak of insta-love (even though I’ve seen many readers do this) because Celia and Marco encounter each other over many years, again and again. But fact is that these various meetings consist only of staring at the other, maybe speaking a few sentences or making out. So when they get together, it feels like they barely know each other despite their first meeting being years ago.

Second big problem? The plot. It started out really cool but turned out to be anticlimactic AF. I mean, there are some things happening at the end but I didn’t really get it.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a dreamer.”

‘Wait, didn’t you say you loved this book?’ you may ask yourself.

Yeah, I did.

I didn’t actually hate all the characters, I was just more interested in minor characters like Herr Thiessen. I don’t know why but they had more personality than all the major characters combined.

But now the most important things: the writing. The setting. The descriptions.

I didn’t know I was into flowery prose, but here I am.

So freaking beautiful.

Never have I read a book so magical and atmospheric before. Wow. Just… wow.

If this book was just full of descriptions of the Cirque des Rêves and nothing else, it would’ve been a 5 stars read for me. Not kidding. I could spend the rest of my life exploring this circus.

I don’t know how a person can have this kind of imagination, but Erin Morgenstern has it. And she uses it quite wonderfully.

“You’re not destined or chosen, I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it’s not true. You’re in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that’s enough.”

If you’re into magic, give this book a try. Because you won’t find a book more magical.

Have you read this book? What do you think? Let me know down below in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern

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