Friday, June 8, 2012

The Night Circus


The Night Circus is probably not a book that I would have picked up at the book store on my own. Chip's mom gave it to me. When she gave it to me she said it was pretty interesting, but to be honest I wasn't super excited about it. I enjoy a fantasy book here and there, but it is not necessarily what I would call one of my favorite genres. I put it on my side table into a "possible read" pile and then didn't think about it for a while. My friend Erin then suggested it for our book club. I thought, well if two people have brought it up to me then it is probably worth the read.

I started this book a while ago. I was super busy with the end of the school year at work that I just read a chapter here or there. I enjoyed that the chapters were each a few pages long so it was easy to stop frequently. I did not get into the book right away, but once school got out I decided to put some significant reading time in and before long I was entranced.

The book was confusing at first because the chapters of the book switch times, countries, characters, and moods often. I frequently had to flip back to the previous chapter so I would know what year it was. This is probably not the best book to read on a Kindle or E-reader because flipping back and forth between chapters is necessary. Once I got used to the book and knew what was going on I didn't have to flip back so much.

The Night Circus is based in the late 1800s-early 1900s across Europe and New England. It is a magical love story between two talented magicians who are chosen to to compete against one another in a very complicated battle of strength, power, and talent. The arena of the challenge is the circus itself: Le Cirque des Rêves. The battle is more or less a game that involves not only themselves, but everyone around them. They were chosen against their knowledge or will to be bound to their opponent to battle to the very end. The story takes place over 30 years which is more or less the duration of the challenge.

Erin Morgenstern is a talented story teller that is able to paint a picture in print so well that I believed I was a patron of the circus. I could almost smell the air, taste the confections, and see the talented acts. This book is for those who enjoy fantasy, magic, and good writing.

As a member of my book club, Erin wrote a review to describe viewpoint of this book:

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
I chose this book because it wanted something visual, something that I couldn’t stop picturing after I put the book down for the night. I definitely got that with The Night Circus. It is an extremely detailed story leaving you wondering what is real and what is dreamt. I enjoyed the pictures that the narrative painted in my mind, however, I was left wanting more from the plot. The pace was a little slow for me, with a game that spans 30 years, alternating back and forth between past, present, and future. I was a little bothered by the constant jumping around between dates that were so few years apart that I couldn’t see a reason for it. I would have rather had a story told in chronological order, but alternating character’s perspectives by chapter. I did like the jump forward in time to get to know Bailey, but other than that, I felt like the constant back and forth was pointless to the story. 
I really liked the characters of Celia and Marco, but I felt that we could have had even more character development and gotten to know them better as people and not just magicians. Celia was so witty when she did have narrative, but it never felt like we had enough. 
Overall, this is a story carried by the details rather than the plot. I was expecting more from a challenge that was supposed to be fought to the death.

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