Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus
Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Social Media: Blog, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Random House
Format and Price: eBook at $09.99
Rating: 1.5 out of 5

About The Author:
Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist, who describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” She grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts with two very fluffy cats.

About The Book:
In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story. The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway–a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in “a game,” in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will

Yarr! Thar Be Spoilers Ahead

Aspects of The Book I Had Problems With:
~Lots of Description: This is one of the main reasons I struggled with this book for so long, there are huge paragraphs (sometimes whole chapters) just describing the circus or the current scene like the ten-year anniversary party at Chandresh Christophe Lefevre’s place. Now, I understand that this is the author’s style, it’s not like the descriptions are bad, in fact I would wager that the author has a serious Food Porn fetish. The problem is I’m a plot orientated reader and I don’t much care for description unless it relates back to the plot.

~Slow Plot: The plot loses a lot of the minimal momentum it has when Celia figures out Marco’s secret identity, which is about over half-way through the book and it takes ages for the plot-thread to be picked up again. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Marco was just using Isobel and while I understand why Marco would fall for to Celia, I have absolutely no idea what Celia sees in Marco, he has no personality, he has no friends or interests outside of the challenge, he’s a real No-Where Man. Celia at least has friends outside the circus and has friends inside the circus that eventually learn the truth of the situation.

~Unfortunate Implications – Mind Rape: I consider erasing someone’s memory without their consent a violation. I also consider a person invading another person’s mind and planting thoughts inside a person’s mind without their consent to be a violation. The definition of Rape is a foreign object forced into another person without permission or without the person’s consent. Over the course of the novel, Marco is regularly erasing or tampering with Chandresh Christophe Lefevre’s mind, from hiring him in the first place, to making Chandresh forget the fact that he and Marco have regular arguments and how Chandresh has tried to fire Marco.

It’s pretty obvious by the end of the novel that Chandresh has been suffering from some form of Brain Damage. It’s quiet tragic to see a once brilliant creative artist and event planner reduced to an alcoholic who can’t remember what he’s doing on a daily basis. At the end of the novel, it’s not Marco or D.H. that stops by and eases Chandresh’s internal turmoil, but Poppet. In fact Marco often treats Chandresh’s episode’s of understandable confusion and paranoia as mere annoyances and shows no empathy or remorse for his actions (which backfires pretty badly at the end).

There’s also a scene at the ten-year anniversary party where Marco kisses Celia in the middle of a crowded ballroom full of people, Marco then proceeds to erase the memories of everyone who witnessed it. It’s supposed to come of as a grand romantic gesture, instead I was horrified, especially since Marco specifically mentions how difficult it was to reach into ALL of those minds and remove the memory of him kissing Celia. I mean, it was completely unnecessary, he could have easily requested Celia talk to him in private or had Celia cover them in an illusion of invisibility. But like Chandresh, he was completely apathetic to the situation, the greater implications didn’t bother him at all and that disturbed me.

In conclusion, a character orientated novel with lots of descriptions that I felt bogged down the narrative. Overall, the book was a disappointing read, especially since I’ve had so many people and book-bloggers praise it and tell me how brilliant it is.

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