5 Reasons Why I Love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
My overall rating: 5/5
Get it here from Amazon
I have never fallen as in love with a book as I have The Night Circus. For that reason, I have chosen to gush about it in this blog post rather than writing my usual type of review. I invite all reveurs to join me.
1. THE WRITING

Erin Morgenstern has said that her novels are 'fairy tales in one way or another' and she is absolutely right. From the moment I started reading The Night Circus I was mesmerised by the writing. 

'The rain increases and umbrellas sprout like mushrooms amongst the graves'

There's something about the writing that is so poetic and beautiful. Although there has been a fair amount of criticism of The Night Circus saying that it's very slow-moving, I personally never noticed as the writing is interesting enough on its own to grab and maintain my attention.

'October slips into November, a change that goes largely unnoticed other than those standing closest to the clock'

Whenever I came across a line like the one above, I wished I had written it! Morgenstern takes a different perspective on things we often overlook, making everyday life seem so much more interesting and poetic once you read The Night Circus. Another reason why I love this line so much is because I feel it is a fantastic symbol of how things in life go 'unnoticed' if we aren't paying attention, like good friends and hard work. 

Being a literature student, I love when I can analyse the clever things the author is doing. For example, all the characters are disorientated at one point or another and in turn the format of The Night Circus disorientates the reader, involving us in the circus. Boom. For the first 200 pages or so I was confused by the dates at the beginning of the chapters and it only started making sense towards the end (probably because I wasn't paying enough attention). At first this annoyed me but then I realised that must be exactly how Tara Burgess feels. The confusing dates make the story mysterious and develops the theme of not-quite-knowing-what-is-going-on, like Tara and most of the performers in the circus. 

2. IT EXPLORES THE IMPORTANCE OF STORIES

Let me explain. 

I'm currently studying for my degree in Comparative Literature and French, the comparative part being focusing on how stories from different countries interact with each other (in a nutshell). For this reason, the majority of my first year was learning about how integral stories and storytelling is/was to different cultures.

So when a book repeatedly mentions the importance of stories, in my head I am screaming 'YES!!'

The character who Morgenstern uses to do so is Widget. Widget can see people's histories and therefore is a pretty amazing storyteller.

'As Widget finished [his story], the tree feels more alive than it had before he started'

This quote in particular shows exactly how I feel about stories (alongside the one in my 'about' page from The Light Between Oceans). Poppet's eyes have been opened to a new way of looking at the tree because of Widget's fantastic imagination and storytelling skills. Throughout history stories have been used to broaden people's minds and change their lives, so I love that Morgenstern has paid tribute to that.

'Whatever truth the story once had is buried in bias and embellishment'

Another thing we focus heavily on in my degree is how stories can be manipulated and changed by the storyteller to fit their agenda, so it was also a great feeling when Morgenstern acknowledged this too. 

Basically, Morgenstern could be a mascot for my course.

3. THE CHARACTERS

Reading The Night Circus felt like peering into a dollhouse. There are so many interesting characters and subplots within the walls of the book, it never gets boring. By the end it is clear how important every single character is to the circus.

I am attached to all of the main characters. Morgenstern writes each of them in such a complex but familiar way, making me feel like I know them (cringe). As a result of this the deaths of Tara and Herr Fredrick Thiessen were absolutely tragic. I must admit they didn't make me cry but I don't think that was the intention. Morgenstern wrote the death scenes as ways of spurring on anger at the injustice of Chandresh's actions rather than to be upsetting.

Herr Fredrick Thiessen is an extremely interesting character. The part of his development that intrigued me the most was his influence on the circus. His magical clock influences the circus and its atmosphere, and in turn the circus has a profound influence on him. Thiessen becomes the first reveur, showing just how important the circus is to him and how influential it can be on patrons. Therefore the fact that the circus (in effect) kills him makes his death ten times more devastating. Both Tara and Fredrick were innocent victims of something they loved.

I must admit I underestimated the Burgess sisters when they were first introduced. I was certain they were going to be the tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee type, but I was pleasantly surprised. The sisters probably developed the most from beginning to end, going from just pretty faces to in charge of the aesthetics of the circus, a very important job. It makes me happy that they aren't presented as clueless women who are just the object of Mr Barris' fantasies. They kick ass.

As I mentioned before, all the characters are complex. I love when characters are presented as neither good nor bad. For example, it is never explicitly clear if Marco is evil or not - he seems to have this villainous grip on all the characters involved in the circus, but on the other hand he is head over heels in love with Celia and essentially dies for her. Other extremely complex characters are Alexander, Hector Bowen, Chandresh and Tsukiko but I was particularly drawn to Marco. There are so many layers to all of them which makes them so relatable and human.

4. THE ROMANCES

I am a massive fan of Poppet and Bailey's cute little romance. After having had a string of badly written romances, The Night Circus plants the seeds in all the right places allowing the romance to grow without annoying me (*cough cough* Jacob and Emma from Miss Peregrine *cough cough*). They are just so cute. Morgenstern actually describes why they are attracted to each other and takes the time to develop their relationship. There is a special place in my heart for Poppet, so much so that when a chapter ended with 'Poppet screamed' or something, I had to close the book and put it down to give me time to mentally prepare myself for something bad to happen to her. It was bitter sweet when Poppet was fine but Thiessen was not.

Furthermore, I am all for Marco and Celia. Their romance was a bit Twilight-esque but to be honest, that's my guilty pleasure. 14 year old me loved Twilight and forever wanted an Edward Cullen to sweep me off my feet, so I rooted for Marco and Celia all the way. I know forbidden romances are so overdone but I cannot help but fall for them every time.

5. THE CIRCUS ITSELF

If you look back to my first ever blog post you'll find a story I wrote in first year, and that story is set in a haunted American fairground. Even before I read The Night Circus, I loved all things spooky and ominous. Further proof being my favourite TV show on earth is The Walking Dead. I just love that stuff.

For that reason I knew I was going to love The Night Circus before I started it. And, boy, was I right.

There are so many little details about Le Cirque de Reves that really stuck with me. For example, I was mesmerised by the living statues that are dressed up in costume and move really slowly. I did not mind the passages of description for things like this, Morgenstern is just an amazing writer who can put images so vividly in my mind. Furthermore, the descriptions of all the tents were always so amazing and detailed. The ice garden in particular. I have heard so many people say how much they liked the ice garden but they have a point! It's amazing!

The circus is one of the main reasons I couldn't help but think The Night Circus would make a fantastic film the whole time I was reading it. I can't help but think Tim Burton would give the magical atmosphere of the circus justice. Just imagine the black and white tents and the reveur's costumes! I really hope it becomes a film one day and that Morgenstern is involved in the production, otherwise it wouldn't be the same.

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Overall, The Night Circus has become my new favourite book of all time. I have recommended it to so many people and now I recommend it to all of you. Unfortunately I only got it from the library on loan but I know I will be buying myself my own copy in the future. I know I will be reading The Night Circus over and over again.


Comments

  1. Great post! I adored The Night Circus. I had people telling me how good it was but refused to believe it would actually be that good. I loved the circus, it was just perfect. Now you've got me dying to reread it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I've only read it once but I also really want to reread it, especially closer to Halloween maybe!

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  2. As if I wasn't convinced that I needed to read this before this definitely gets me hyped for it! I feel like it's been sitting on my shelf for ages but I actually only got it recently. Great "review"!

    By the way, I nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award https://tsundokubooks.blogspot.com/2017/09/mystery-blogger-award.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!! I'm glad you liked it! You 100% should read it, you honestly won't regret it - I'd love to hear your opinion once you do!

      Wow thank you so much! I'll get on that right away :)

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