Thursday, February 28, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Read: Oct 18, 2012
It had such promise.
Truth be told, this was never on my to-read list but it was on the Book Club list.  And, after reading the back I was excited to read it because I love magic and mystical stuff.
I started out mystified.  The Le Cirque des Reves arrives without warning, without announcements, and for only a night.   The way Morgenstern wrote made you believe in this magical world. You could get the feel of exactly what part of the circus they were in, what it tasted like, smelt like.

The story line is what bothered me. Two magicians/illusionists Celia and Marco are forced to be in a duel of magic trained since childhood. However, they do now know that the one who wins is the one that lives.  It also wasn’t this long drawn out duel as you would think. They didn’t even know about each other for a good part of their years on earth. Then only one knows about each other. Then they both do. And when I hear duel, I think Harry Potter wizard duel. Magician duels however are very different. They are about illusions, of different attractions in the circus.   The training also bothered me; especially on Celia’s side. Her father was a well-known great magician (whom everyone thought died but in reality it was only his magic that went a little bit wrong) and he was brutal, making her break her bones in order to heal them again. Celia and Marco also didn’t realize they were being trained for this ‘duel’ either. It seemed to be a bet between two old men who didn’t want to show their greatness by having to actually perform magic and rather would have pawns to show their great teaching abilities.  Another issue about the main plot, is that it states that one most die in order to crown a victor. This seems a little far fetched as they mentioned that their previous ‘duel’ lasted for 37 years and only ended because one killed themselves. And after playing a game for 37 years, it’s a wonder why? Celia and Marco also fall in love.   You are expecting this great love story, yet I feel that while they put this as the core of the story, it just seemed forced. It seems that they decided one day to just be a couple. All the while Marco was stringing this other girl along. Maybe he was just daft to the fact that said other girl loved him. But she wasn’t taking it. Apparently this girl loved Marco so much that she ended up disrupting the magic in the circus, causing unspeakable things to happen. This story I wish the author focused on more!
I wish that Marco and Celia weren’t the main focus of characters. I found that the supporting characters were much more interesting and would have had more promise as lead.  The Burgress sisters, the aging twins (whom I loved the best) and Bailey, Chandresh, or even why the two old guys differed in their ideologies of teaching magic. Anyone else would have been able to write a better plot.

Like I said it had so much promise. I feel Morgenstern focused more of her energy into the imagery than actual story and character development.   I was mystified at first, loving the descriptions of the different circus acts, but then I felt like it should just end, I didn’t know who to cheer for because the characters weren’t described as deeply as the illusion.  I didn’t feel like there were any climatic moments, no suspense, not even an explanation as to why the magic in the book works, or why the competition was so important, leaving so many empty holes.

I rated it 3 stars, because well the imagery was fantastic. Story line, not so much.

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