Archive for December 29th, 2011

The Night Circus

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

By Erin Morgenstern

The Short Take:

This is one of the most beautifully magical books I have ever read. It makes the Harry Potter series seem as dry as law text books (and I loved Harry, et al). Of course, this is another type of story entirely: Two magicians each train an apprentice who will compete to prove who has the best skill. But, love gets in the way.


If you don’t like fantasy or magic, forget it. This book is drenched in the fantastical, and it has never been addressed so beautifully. The descriptions of places, people, and even clothes are absolutely magical — which is appropriate, since this book is all about magic. Not tricks or illusions, but the “real” stuff.

Leave your disbelief at the cover and dive into a throughly enchanting tale of two young apprentices in a crucial contest that slowly evolves into a desperate love story. To be honest, the plot gets a little hinkey towards the very end, but the journey is so visually rich and entertaining, you just don’t care.

I could see The Night Circus in my mind so clearly; it’s obvious Morgenstern is an artist. The mental pictures she creates are fabulous. I loved every minute I spent in her world.

A Little Plot:

Two rival magicians have different theories about magic: how to learn it and how to use it. To test who has the better approach, they train young apprentices who later compete. There are no real rules to the competition, and the competitors don’t even know who their rival is — but this competition is deadly serious.

A remarkable circus is the arena for the competition. It arrives unannounced, opens only a night, has only black and white (and silver) coloring, and features some of the most amazing performances ever seen — much of it courtesy of the two young apprentices.

Of course, one is a woman and the other a man. You know what that means.

Morgenstern has created a visual feast for the mind. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. For more about her, click here.


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