Review - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern7:22 PM
This is a very peculiar book to describe, because it is a quite peculiar book indeed. What you must know is that it is unlike any other book you've ever read. The narrative is beautiful, as well as the story that it tells.
The premise of the adventure is that two "magicians" have been battling for years over which format for performing magic is best. They challenge each other by teaching students their methods and then placing the students in some type of an arena (not often a typical one) where they must see who can perform the longest. The winner of the challenge is proven to have the best method of teaching magic. Celia Bowen is only six when she's taken to her father, Hector Bowen. Hector decides to make her his student, and challenges Alexander, otherwise known as the man in the grey suit, to find a competitor. When he does, marvelous plans for a circus evolve. The circus is magnificent and stands apart from other circuses. There are many tents, all filled with amazing and breathtaking acts and talents. There is a draw to the circus, so much so that some people never want to leave. However, the circus is the arena, and Celia and her opponent, Marcus, must hold it up until the other cannot do so anymore. You must be warned: this is a story of unrequited love that may or may not be solved.
I found this book to be magical, for lack of a better word. It simply was. The circus is described in a way that makes your mouth water. The characters' relationships keep you hanging on for what's at stake. There is an ever-present air of mystery around every action that happens in the book.
Here's how I rate it:
The writing - Simply wonderful. I haven't read a book this poised in so long. Morgenstern makes the circus real to the reader, even when such a spectacle has never existed. When she describes the food at the circus, it is almost like reading J.K. Rowling describes the feasts at Hogwarts. And that is a high standard. What exists in that aspect exists in others. Morgenstern makes you want to be at the circus, just as her characters cannot stand to be without it. I'm amazed at how her descriptions came to life. 5/5.
The plot - The plot was magnificent toward the end of the book. I felt that it was a bit slow at first, and had trouble reading through this as fast as I could other books. However, this is because there had to be a lot of buildup in order to get what needed to be done set up. I did feel that some parts could have been taken out to shorten the book, but I may not have as deep an understanding of the plot as the author does. Surely, everything in this book happens for a reason. 4/5.
The characters - I loved the characters in this novel. They felt real, full of life, and I was drawn into them from the beginning. The love between Celia and Marcus felt so tangible, like I too could feel the tension that followed them wherever they went. I also loved Poppet and Widget, who became a part of the circus the day they were born- they quite literally started and ended their lives with the show. Even the characters that I didn't like- Hector, Alexander, Isobel, and Chandresh, were still so well developed that I had to admire the author's work. 5/5.
In total, I give this book 4.5/5 stars. I highly recommend it to lovers of well-told stories. It is not a book you read to quickly pass the time, or one that you can read mindlessly. Read this book with the intention of being amazed.
As for age-related content, please note that this book does contain one scene involving sex. However, it is not realistic. I believe it could be handled by ages 14+.