The Night Circus Book Review

No Spoiler Alerts!

All of my book and film reviews are free of spoiler alerts, but you might not know that if this is your first time checking one of them out. So, sit back and relax while you learn a little bit about:

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fantasy | Fiction

Publisher: Anchor Books

Trigger Warnings: Blood | Death | Parental Abuse

Spoilers?: Only in the trigger warnings

Publishing Date: July 3, 2012

The Night Circus was the first book I read in 2022. I’ll admit I was drawn in by both the name and the hype. It seemed like everywhere I turned, the book was being pushed in front of me. It didn’t take long to cave in because I really liked the mysterious concept, the title, and, well, curiosity won out!

The book is about a circus that comes to town without warning. No announcements or invitations precede it. Townsfolk just wake up one day, and it’s there. It’s called Le Cirque des Reves, and inside the black and white striped tents awaits breathtaking wonder and an entirely unique experience for the revelers. The circus, as the title indicates, is only open at night.

Behind the scenes, a duel exists between two magicians (not the fake magicians you see in Vegas, but ones with real supernatural abilities), Celia and Marco. They’ve each been trained their whole lives for the sole purpose of facing off against each other. Their mysterious instructors fail to tell Celia and Marco that only one of them will be left standing after the duel.

Despite the two falling in love, there is no escaping the duel. The fates of everyone involved in the circus, along with a curious bystander who finds his way into the tent after hours, is all on the line.

The question becomes, “What is more powerful, magic or love?”

Well, that was my summary of sorts, but what did I think?

I was riveted! I loved the prose, the pacing, and despite not being into supernatural genres, was floored by Morgenstern’s ability to hypnotize the reader and leave us wanting more after the final pages.

Fun fact: The Night Circus started as a NaNoWriMo project!

Taken from Erin Morgenstern’s Website

  • Did THE NIGHT CIRCUS really start as a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project?

Yes it did indeed. The longer version of this answer has been chronicled several times (including this blog post about how I got an agent) but the short version is that NaNoWriMo is an online based challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I tried for the first time in 2003 & failed but succeeded in 2004 and in 2005 I started a project that I got bored with and sent the characters to the circus and that circus was immediately much more interesting than anything else so I spent the next two years of NaNo writing exploring that imaginary circus. It went through a great many changes between that double NaNo draft and the finished version. (An example: that entire 100k worth of original circus stuff? Celia isn’t in it. Seriously.)