Review by Kristina Yin, grade 11

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The plot of The Night Circus, the debut novel of Erin Morgenstern, is extraordinarily hard to explain; particularly because it is everything happening at once. One can view it as a story of star-crossed lovers who are manipulated into a game of their own demise. Others can view it as a cautionary tale of two ancient beings, with too much time on their hands, that meddle with the affairs of normal people and cause catastrophes one after another. My favorite, and the one I most adhere to, is the story of how a magical circus was formed and how it affects the quirky people in and around it.

The Night Circus is unlike any other book I have ever read before. Erin Morgenstern weaves and spins the words of the novel like a master seamstress. Her writing style is incredibly detailed yet enigmatic, depending on which is more appropriate. Some of her imagery is so intense and vivid that they are, quite literally, all that I remember of a chapter. In other times, Morgenstern is an expert at subtlety: purposely leaving details unsaid for the readers to join in on the mystery. This novel is really, really a literary masterpiece.

By all means, I should hate this book. I am not fond of being trapped other people’s imaginations and I find it incredibly hard to suspend my disbelief in anything fantastical. Furthermore, I tend to gravitate towards more straightforward storytelling and than overly stylistic endeavors. The Night Circus is shining paradigm of books I normally avoid: books that, as much as they try, can’t convince me of their fantasies. Everything about the Night Circus is enveloped in an atmosphere of magic and mystery, and its writing is purposely fluid to enforce that. Sure enough, during the earliest chapters, I did have trouble letting go of reality. Yet, slowly but surely, I fell in love with the circus’ magic.

Above all, this novel was nothing short of enchanting. I imagine it can appeal to a multitude of people. Those that really appreciate a well-crafted romance will definitely be satisfied. Others, like me, could be more compelled by a strikingly beautiful and unexpected world. Even if fantasy is not your cup of tea, I say try reading The Night Circus anyways, because it has certainly made me besotted. 5/5 stars.


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387 pages