Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars

Goodreads Description (shortened version):

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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.


I really enjoyed this book. It was mystical, magical, and enchanting. Basically, this book was right up my alley with things that I enjoy in a book. It made me feel like magic is real and it had quirky/unique characters. I loved Bailey and I thought the idea of the reveurs for the circus was really cool. The reason I couldn’t give this one four stars though is because I think I read it too slowly for all of the details that were needed to be remembered (I was in a reading slump). There were a lot of confusing things in this story, but I am hoping that this was done on purpose. The competition taking place in the circus is supposed to be very unclear to the two main characters (Marco and Celia), therefore, it is very unclear to the audience as well. I don’t have any problem with that though! I think that is what helped make the story so magical, because magic should not be able to be explained. However, the switching between different times and the foreshadowing (especially when some characters knew the future) messed with my mind a bit. I think I might need to read this one again sometime in the future, now that I have a better understanding of it. Maybe then I will have a better experience.

Trusting the Reader to Assume Things

I’ve never thought about this aspect of a book before, but for some reason I thought that this book did a really good job of it. The Night Circus is supposed to be a giant enigma, therefore, if Morgenstern would have had the characters explain everything that they were thinking and talking about, then the story would not have been the same. There were a lot of places in this story where I just had to infer as to what the characters were trying to allude to and I kind of enjoyed that.

Atmosphere of the Story

The atmosphere and the setting of this story is almost incomparable to anything I have read before. The creativity behind what was inside each of the circus tents was so fun to read! I will admit though, that I did lose focus while reading the descriptions of a lot of the magical places and had to go back and reread them. This is because I’m not fond of reading too much into the setting of places in a story. However, I think it says a lot about the book that I did find reading about the circus enjoyable (whenever I was able to focus).


There were a lot of quotes in the story that I really liked. Here are a few that I marked…

  • “People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told they see.”
  • “It is too difficult to see a situation for what it is when you are in the middle of it,”Tsukiko says. “It is too familiar. Too comfortable.”
  • “People don’t pay to much attention to anything unless you give them reason to.”
  • “I am haunted by the ghost of my father, I think that should allow me to quote Hamlet as much as I please.”
  • “And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur […]”


I feel like I have been really lucky lately because I can’t think of any bad book that I have recently read. Thankfully The Night Circus didn’t break this streak!


Author: wordswithbri

Book Blogger

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