Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus is a beautifully written book. From the very beginning, the author invites you into the circus and it feels as if you’re there, breathing in the cotton-candy atmosphere, amazed by all the magic.

Descriptions of wonders like the Cloud Maze, Ice Garden or Wishing Tree will make you want to construct your own creations out in the backyard somehow.

I love how this book shows that creativity can be a collaboration and that people can build off of each other to make each other better. The main characters, Celia and Marco, enter into a vague competition as children. At the heart of this competition is a unique love story. The story illustrates the effects of this love, not only on the characters involved but on everyone they come in contact with and the circus itself, rejuvenating all with the magic love creates.

Yes, this book is heavy on description (something writers are told not to do), but the writing is so lyrical that I ended up enjoying those descriptions possibly more than the actual story. Reading The Night Circus is like indulging in rich chocolate and licking it off your fingers while it oozes uncontrollably everywhere. And that kind of thing is fine with me. In fact, it should happen more often.

There are too few books like this these days, books that pay attention to the sound of the words and sentences. Many don’t bother in favor of the plot. The Night Circus gives us both an exciting story and a beautifully written one while showing that such things, and many others, are still possible.

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22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Circus

  1. My sentiments exactly! The Night Circus have such rich and vivid descriptions I couldn’t believe I was only in my plain boring room when I lifted my eyes from the book (which was very very very rare!) Great review 🙂

    I’m now a proud new follower of your blog, do drop by mine @ too!


    • That’s a great way of describing it – it did feel as if the magic should have transformed the room in some way! Thank you for following. I’ve followed you back and look forward to reading your reviews.

    • hahah – the book has much better writing in it than this review so you might like it! This circus doesn’t have any clowns (in case that’s what you’re scared of).

  2. I did not like it at all! I kept expecting something to happen but then, nothing. It was very anti-climactic. I wasn’t intrigued by the characters as much, and I was confused at times because there were so many.

    • Hi Chantal! I guess there are people out there who didn’t like it. Some want a faster paced plot and less description. I really loved it for the way it was written though and thought the ending was pretty exciting. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Hi Sheila, great review. I have not read this, but it is on my to-read list. Now you’ve made me move it to #1 on my list. Hopefully the library has it handy. I’m trying not to buy books before reading them because I have to curb my appetite for books somehow. They’re taking over my study.

    Didn’t this book bloom in NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago? Or am I confusing it with another one?

    • That’s great – hopefully the library wait isn’t as long as it was when it first came out. It was a NaNoWriMo book, which is hard to believe when you read it because it’s written in a relaxed, non-frantic way. 🙂 I’m guessing a lot of editing and revising must have gone into it.

    • Me too – I’m glad you loved it! There might be a movie made from it but I don’t see how it could be better than the book (since the best part about reading it was imagining).

  4. I read the first chapter and put it aside. I’ve heard such great things about this, I think I was not in the right head space. I’ll come back o it this summer. Great review – you help me want to read it 🙂

    • Thanks – I’m glad it helped! Summer is probably a good time to read it because it has a more relaxed pace than a lot of books. It’s true I think you have to be in the right frame of mind when reading it. It’s good to just kind of let the words take over and work their magic.

  5. Here is another person not keen on the circus. Despite that, the story behind it is a completely different matter. I shall look for a copy.

  6. Hi Sheila, loved your review! I haven’t read or heard about this book but I will definitely pick up a copy as your review really intrigued my curiosity.

    • Glad to hear it! I mostly like classics for the same reason – because of the attention paid to the language – so if you like that kind of writing hopefully you’ll like this one too.

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