Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Book Review Club - The Night Circus

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
Adult/YA Crossover

From the moment I began to listen to this story on audio until I finished, I couldn't classify it. A trip to Target - serious source searching - didn't help. The book was in the bestseller category with the other adult books, but toward the bottom where some YA and middle grade were. When I finally upped  my game and checked out the classification on Amazon, it's adult.

Yet, this is a book for all ages. I've encouraged my nine year old to read it because it's such a dreamlike adventure. Two magicians battle it out for their lives in a night circus that magically appears and disappears from location to location across the world.

This is the first circus I liked. I'm not crazy about clowns, or the whole circus venue in books or movies. There are exceptions, of course, Water for Elephants being one. It was more along the lines of gritty realism circus. This is dream circus without the scary factor that often seems to accompany that venue. The characters are gorgeously rich. The setting is magical. The plot is lusciously entwined.

The story is not told chronologically, which made the audio aspect to my "read" difficult. It will likely make the story difficult for a middle grade audience as well. What's more, I wasn't sure it was a necessary aspect to the story. It indicates the longevity of the challenge early on, but complicates the story's unfolding unnecessarily. The author could have revealed the backstory of the magician who had won a similar challenge earlier and thus introduced the complexity and longevity of the magical challenge in that way without complicating storytelling. However, these temporal fluctuations were not so off-putting that they derailed the circus story, just complicated it. Maybe that was the point. It's a complex plot.

Nonetheless, if you're searching about for a cozy, by the fire, dreamlike read, search no further. The Night Circus is just the winter ticket!

For more exciting reads, click over to Barrie Summy's site!


Linda McLaughlin said...

I was interested in reading your review, because I find the premise of this book intriguing. I downloaded a long sample to iBooks because it was a Starbuck's Pick of the Week a couple of months ago, but I haven't yet had a chance to read it. I'm not a big circus fan, either, but I like fantasy. I'm not fond though of stories that jump back and forth in time unnecessarily, so we'll see how that goes. I will give it a good try though. Glad you liked it.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I keep hearing raves about this book. Might be a good audiobook for our trip to the inlaws this month.

Sarahlynn said...

Two circuses in Barrie's review club this week! I'm not usually a circus fan - my enjoyment of Water for Elephants was primarily confined to the shell story - but you've definitely piqued my interest, here. Thanks!

Canada said...

I loved this book. I couldn't put it down .. literally!! I just loved diving into this mystical, magical world of The Night Circus!!

Barrie said...

I'm a month behind leaving this comment. ;) This book is on my TBR pile. I think I'll have to read it with Child #4. I don't see her persevering through the back and forth.

Sarah Laurence said...

This book is in my to read pile as I've heard such good things and the binding is gorgeous. I missed this review last month. I guess your War Horse review is coming later today. I reviewed War Horse play, book and movie on November 30th on my blog. I'm curious to hear what you made of it.

Loraine said...

Hi, cool review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

Thanks and have a very nice day! :)