Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I’m not sure how big this book is because I got it electronically, with the idea of teaching myself how to read on this damn tablet. Between this and the Long Earth, I’ve think I’ve got it, but I have to fight Ava who constantly wants the tablet to watch pepper pig…

Anyway, the problem is the epub reader I use tells you what page if the chapter you are on, not which page of the book. Or how many chapters the book has. And you don’t have the weight in your hand or the option of sticking your thumb where you’re up to and closing the book to see if you’ve come farther than you’ve got to go. As a result, its now past 1am and I’m still awake.

The Night Circus is like a dream. Its beautiful and haunting and eerie and discombobulated and you get lost in it quite happily. Its the tale of two enchanters and the challenge they set for their proteges-outlast the other. But this challenge is unlike any other and its stage is a travelling circus where no fantasy is unobtainable. But the stakes quickly become too high for Marco and Celia-Its not longer only one or the other of them who faces death, but all those who have become enmeshed in the cirque de review, whether willingly or not.

There are so many stories woven up into this book and Morgenstern weaves them deftly, teasing out each strand so you can’t tell what the pattern is until the final thrilling end. The characters are vivacious and tragic, from the enigmatic Tsukiko, to the forlorn Isobel and solid, wonder-struck Bailey who is the most unlikely and perfect hero a book has ever had.

The only part I didn’t like is the jump into second person point of view in the interludes. While I understand its intent to draw the reader deeper into the experience, I found the change in tense a lot more jarring than the changes in timeline or main character perspective, jarring enough that it forced me out of the story and by the third one I’d stopped reading them just to be able to stick with the narrative. The rest of the book is easy to read, sophisticated and elegant (I thought of the opulence of Anne Rice) and very engaging. The biggest benefit of the tablet is you can prop it up so your wrists don’t get sore (a problem when you read the 700+ page fantasy novels I lean towards), so while I can’t legitimately say I never put the book down, I read it from beginning to end starting about 4 hours ago.

I’ll write the review for the Long Earth tomorrow (read it, its fantastic. Then read this,) but in the meanwhile I’m off to dream of crows and kittens and clocks and ice and fire….

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Filed under Crime, Fantasy

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