Friday, September 18, 2015

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

How ironic that a young woman whose name translates "Morningstar' has written such a magical tale about the night.  Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus is an enthralling tale of love, twisted ambition, mystery and obsession, but mostly it's a tale of controlling one's dreams, visions and future. All these themes are wrapped up in a story about a magical circus that appears mysteriously at the turn of the 20th century and travels the world, attracting a cast of really memorable characters.

Celia and Marco are two very talented and sensitive young people taken into tutelage under older and far more experienced teachers ... magicians, illusionists, one might say, madmen. They are bonded at a young age to be in competition with each other. BUT WHY? AND HOW?

The Night Circus becomes the playing field for these two to begin molding a surreal and completely entrancing experience for the public, a circus like no other. This circus magically appears in places all over the world. It opens its gate at night and closes at dawn. Its troupe of artists include the most talented of acrobats, illusionists, fortunetellers, lion tamers and animal trainers. The characters become intertwined in their circus lives, as Celia and Marco produce tent after tent of increasingly intricate magical experience for circus-goers. What begins as a way for them to hone their considerable talents becomes a glorious collaboration of love. BUT ... and that's a big but ... their mentors have had other plans for their future and that future has no place for them to be together. One must extinguish the other in some fashion.

The fate of The Night Circus rests in how Marco and Celia respond to this more urgent challenge. They have come to cherish their mates in the circus troupe, respect and care for the public and the legions of reveurs (dreamers) who follow the circus from place to place. How can they put this warped challenge to rest and save the circus?

I loved this read. It's a debut book by Ms. Morgenstern and is soon to be a motion picture with a proposed fall 2015 release. I think I will be glad that I read the book before seeing the movie. There is so much depth and 'premise' to the words of her story that I frankly have problems envisioning how it will be made visual and how dialogue will be able to convey the intricacy of the story. I fear it will lose much of the magic of the novel.  The settings are so incredibly rich in imagination that each reader is bound to have strong images in mind. The characters, too, are well described and in the case of the main characters well-developed so seeing a movie casting director's vision may be disturbing when one has one's own concept of the character. And just how can that magical circus clock of Herr Thiessen's be conveyed through film ? I just don't know ... but I suppose time will tell.

This is the first book reaction linked with this year's RIP X literary event. See details at The Estella Society blog to read other reactions/reviews and/or to join with other lovers of Gothic, mystery, horror,  and fantasy genres.


  1. Thanks for the great review! I think it's time for me to finally read this. I bought an ecopy a couple years back after another wave of positive review but never got to it.
    PS I wasn't aware it was being made into a film. Exciting news!

  2. I read this when it first came out and loved it. I can't really picture how it becomes a movie without losing a lot of what makes it fabulous. Glad you enjoyed it!