Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

13611052 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.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

5 stars


“Some books are made to be tasted, other’s to be swallowed and some few to be chewed.” – Francis Bacon

Once upon a time, in a little bookstore in Martha’s Vineyard I came across an interesting quote. This quote (printed above) was presented to me on a complementary bookmark included in a paper bag with my purchases. Not only did this quote resonate and stay with me but it can, very much be applied to Erin Morgenstern’s ‘The Night Circus’.

‘The Night Circus’ is not a book that should be tasted, nor should it be swallowed and chewed. ‘The Night Circus’ is a rare diamond in a sea of stars whose slow building plot is intended to be savored. One can not simply devour this enchanting novel in one sitting. No, this is a complex and interwoven story whose pages deserve to be understood and appreciated over a good long period of time – much like that of it’s story. ‘The Night Circus’ is that novel which leaves you weeping and utterly dazzled prompting you to turn back to that first page only to travel forth through it’s depths once more. This is a novel that casts a spell on you, staying in your heart long after you’ve turned that final page.

That being said I’ll now attempt to review this incredible debut without giving too much away. This, I believe is very much a story world best left unknown. It’s a mystery, a game that spans across countries, time and characters. Besides, it is almost to beautiful, to complex to recount. I could not possibly hope to do it the justice it so obviously deserves. ‘The Night Circus’ is a story for the senses. Dispite it’s initial premise ‘The Night Circus’ is by no means a fast paced read filled to the rafters with action. Instead, ‘The Night Circus’ presents a story world teeming with wonder. ‘The Night Circus’ is a work of modern art. Morgenstern weaves each chapter beautifully, painting on a vast canvas and delivering description that ensnares and entices the scenes. The circus itself is painted through touch, taste, smell and sight. We as readers are literally transported into it’s world – you are the character experiencing Le Cirque des Rêves or The Circus of Dreams and what an experience it is.

The Circus itself is breathtaking. A magical labyrinth painted entirely in shades of black and white and open only at night, this is a Circus of magic, illusion and mystery. It’s artistic, dotted with immerse detail and description which creates a world beyond your wildest imagination. Amidst the sweeping romance of ‘The Night Circus’s’ stage is the added elements of steampunk, mysticism and history. It’s a stunning world of Victorian and abstract fashion, corsets and top hats. As romantic as it is enchanting and magical.

Inhabiting this incredible Circus are it’s eccentric cast of characters; each as mystical and compelling as the next. Aside from your own point of view are the points of view of both the Circus’s patrons and performers told throughout various times. But don’t be discouraged, though it might be hard to fathom somehow when reading ‘The Night Circus’ I was never once confused. It flows perfectly, each element working towards the final climax, contributing to the puzzle – the greater story. You have the main protagonists Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair our two star-crossed magicians who inevitably fall in love but don’t underestimate the secondary characters. I adored Poppet and Widget’s perspective almost as much as I adored Celia and Marco and who could forget Fredrick Thiessen or Bailey? I even had a soft spot for our fortuneteller Isobel.

But please don’t just take my word for it. Erin Morgenstern’s world is one that must be traveled, explored. It is an immerse reading experience unlike any I’ve come across before bursting with seductive, captivating chapters, beautifully flowing prose as well as a little sprinkle of darkness. It’s ultimately a love story told over time and multiple perspectives. One that fills your very heart with wonder and, dispite it’s lengthy descriptions and slow building plot it never fails to excite. ‘The Night Circus’s’ 490 pages flow easily and quickly through your hands as you race to decipher the mystery and discover how the duel and our star-crossed lovers fare. A beautiful “feast for the senses”, this is a five star read to be ever savored and beloved. A must read for both adults and young adults alike.

Lexie footnote


11 thoughts on “Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    • Exactly! I was forever trying to piece together how Bailey fit into the puzzle and how the game would play out. I will admit that I never fully figured it all out. That was one of my favorite aspects of The Night Circus – it keeps you guessing until it’s last pages! I really think that it’s the kind of book you need to read multiple times. Every read you discover something new, some fact or facet you overlooked.


  1. So happy you loved this and your review is beautiful 😍 it really does keep you guessing and I loved the circus in itself as well as the beautiful descriptions. I can’t wait for another book by Erin Morgenstern she’s such a beautiful writer

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! I wish we’d get a sequel but I know that no amount of wishing (not even on the beautiful wishing tree) will make that happen. I’m suffering from a major book hangover – I keep stalking fan art and wanting to read it all over. It’s now worked its way into being one of my favorites :). And don’t even get me started on Marco…
      Also did you want to start Caraval??? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant review! I only heard of this book because of the comparisons to Caraval, but this is the first review I’ve seen. It sounds like a total feast of a book. There’s nothing better than a well-built world, and tbh I’ve never read anything to do with circuses so it’ll definitely be an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s worth the read! It’s been a good month since I put it down and I’ve still yet to stop thinking about it. This a a beautiful love story that will stand the test of time. It’ funny because I read the Night Circus because of the parallels between it and Caraval too although honestly there is no comparison – The Night Circus trumps every time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Aw – just one? There are so many creative blogs that have impacted both Reading By Starlight and myself. But, if I could only pick the one, I have to pick Brittney from Her Bookish Things. Brittney was one of the first blogs I discovered. Not only did her reviews inspire me to create my own blog but it was her reviews that led me to some of my favorites including Everless, Roar, The Falconer and The Night Circus. […]


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