The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | Book Review


“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

I just completed, ‘The Night Circus.’  This book is technically Erin Moregenstern‘s first release, however I came to it after reading, ‘The Starless Sea.’

The Plot

The Night Circus begins in 1873 as Prospero the Enchanter learns that he has a daughter to be left in his care; a daughter with a special magical ability. It is this ability that brings about a mysterious meeting and the beginning of a game. As the years go by, Prospero meticulously trains his daughter Celia in the art of illusion, while the man in the grey suit, from the mysterious meeting, trains his student Marco. Both are bound together to play an unknown game with unknown rules until a winner is judged. The Night Circus becomes the arena for this game, and the moves made by Celia and Marco affect everyone involved in the circus. As the years go by, the two begin to fall in love, finding it more difficult to keep playing the game. A choice has to be made, to finish the game at all costs, or to give in to love and let the circus end.


‘The Night Circus’ is not only a beautiful concept, but moreover a a portal into another world full of enchantment and intrigue. As soon as the book starts, you are immediately transported. Erin Morgenstern invokes all of your senses in her writing, which literally makes the real world fall away as you delve into the story and plot. I could literally visualize each character and scene and tent in vivid detail. It’s important to pay close attention to the dates that precede each chapter as that is truly an integral part of the story line. It skips back and forth. There is really only one character, Isobel, that I don’t feel really added much to the story – with the exception of one specific event that begins the unraveling of the dream, the magic, and the fate of the circus. Overall, I very much enjoyed this read, though I must confess I enjoyed, ‘The Starless Sea,’ so much more. However, though they are two very different books, both take your breath away as you enter Erin Morgenstern’s vivid imagination.

Favorite Excerpts

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that.”

“I am haunted by the ghost of my father, I think that should allow me to quote Hamlet as much as I please.”

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

“Taking his time, as though he has all of it in the world, in the universe, from the days when tales meant more than they do now, but perhaps less than they will someday, he draws a breath that releases the tangled knot of words in his heart, and they fall from his lips effortlessly.”

“They are a bunch of fish covered in feathers trying to convince the public they can fly, and I am simply a bird in their midst.”

“Wine is bottled poetry.”

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