Rating: 3.7 stars
Celia and Marco have been raised by two very different teachers, preparing for a challenge they don't entirely understand. They don't know that they compete against each other, and they don't know how the winner is determined, but they are certain it won't be easy. Everything becomes more complicated when the setting for their challenge is created (The Cirque des Reves) and they find they have a connection more fantastic than any magic.
It was a little disappointing. The way people raved about it, The Night Circus sounded like the best book since Harry Potter, which it wasn't. Some parts felt cliche, and the characters didn't seem to behave like people in the early 20th century. It's also written in third person present tense which made it difficult to feel fully immersed in the story. In fact, it took me until 300 pages in to really get into it.
That said, The Night Circus is so lyrical. It's not written in verse, yet Morgenstern's imagery is so beautiful it's like poetry. Every fantastical thing that happens within this novel's pages is vividly painted. Morgenstern was able to craft characterizations, and the relationships between the characters, in only a few words. Everything is also very intricately woven, which makes for a very interesting tale. And, after page 300, the story finally picks up and really grabs hold of the reader. The last few chapters are intense, beautiful, and extremely well-done.
In short, The Night Circus is a very good book, and impressive in parts, but it didn't live up to the hype.
Have you ever read a book everyone else loved but you didn't?
Recommended Fantasy Reading: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Eragon by Christopher Paolini, The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray