The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 2 stars

Review: Here's the thing - this book offers its readers so many good things. Beautiful images, well-thought out characters, magical settings, and a poetic writing style. It's such an exceptionally gorgeous looking and sounding novel, and I commend the author for creating such a lovely world.

Unfortunately, I honestly felt like its magic and its beauty was only from the outside - the story itself didn't grab hold of me. It didn't make me fall in love. Even though I can see why so many people rave about it, there were a couple of reasons why I do not feel the same:
  • it's excessively descriptive - The descriptions are beautiful, but they were just way too many of them. The descriptions and details just kept going on and on. I found myself getting extremely bored and annoyed with them! I constantly wanted something - some sort of action or event - to actually happen, but nothing does, because the author is still too busy describing.
  • there's too many characters at once - I like a good cast of characters, but I felt like for this one, too many were introduced at once. It was almost hard to catch up with everyone, and it was hard to remember them due to lack of realistic personalities.
  • plot and character development - To put it simply, I saw none.
  • felt a bit misleading - Reading its intriguing synopsis, you'd expect an action-packed story about the circus, and the people who work there. You would also expect some sort of romance in there, when in fact, I actually could not see much of the romance aspect.
  • a bit confusing - the timeline! I didn't get it, and I really, really paid attention to it. The narration felt forced.
So overall, I just felt like The Night Circus was all about setting the tone and the mood - which usually I would be perfectly okay with, if the story itself delivered as well. Unfortunately, for me at least, it did not deliver at all. I finished this book, feeling as if I have not really read a story, like I haven't really gotten to know the characters that well. So no, I do not recommend this to people at all. However, almost everyone that read this absolutely loved it, so I could be wrong. Sadly, even though its premise sounds like my kind of read, it just didn't go very well for me.


  1. I agree with you - too mush description is not good, especially i f the plot and characters are underdeveloped. I liked the premise, but according to your review I don't think I'd like the book very much. Great review!

  2. Oh, it's a shame you didn't like this one! I was excited to read it after some great reviews, not to mention the cool cover and intriguing plot. But I'm not a fan of excessive description either, it does get a bit tedious. Would much rather a well-developed plot!

  3. Well thank you darling for your honest review :)

    I've got this one on hold at the library. I'm hoping it better as an audio. *fingers crossed* But then again all those characters might be hard to keep up with.

    Wish me luck :)

  4. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more, but I definitely agree with a lot of your points - it was definitely a bit confusing and there were so many characters, it was hard to keep things straight ;)

    Thanks for your honest review, Jillian! :)

  5. Thanks Jillian, you saved me from trying this one.

    I have been really intrigued but something was holding me back, I think i'm getting better at choosing what I really would enjoy.

    Perfect reasoning on why it didn't work for you. Great review

  6. oh no, sorry it dissapointed. thanks for the honest review.
    From the points you make here, I can see why it was a letdown.

  7. Love your honest review. I have this one on my bookshelf. When I first got it, I was so excited to read it. But then the hype was just a little too much and I decided to wait it out. I'm glad that you gave such a balanced view. Very very helpful. Hope your next read is more enjoyable.

  8. I've been hearing a lot of both good and bad things about this book. I can't decide if I want to try reading it or not.

  9. I was very disappointed with the book.

    As you mentioned, there were too many descriptive passages that didn't add anything to the story, and actually distracted from the circus itself.

    My review is here, if you are interested:

  10. ah-oh. I have this on reserve as I was intrigued. I have a feeling I won't like it much because what you described is exactly why I don't like some other books... I am still intrigued, so I'll at least borrow it to read the first few pages... sigh. I thought this would be magical.

  11. I've been hearing a few bad reviews popping up on this one. I have a feeling I just need to resist the temptation to read it immediately and wait for the hype to settle. Then I can go into it without crazy expectations.

  12. Hmm, well that's not the way you should be feeling after finishing a book, that's for sure! I'll probably still check this one out sometime though because I am a lemming.