Monday, August 19, 2019

CIRCUS FANTASY AT ITS FINEST // the night circus by erin morgenstern

It's time! Book reviews have officially come back. Today I'll be reviewing a book using my special review format (which I introduced HERE) for the first time, and I'm excited to see how it goes.

The book - as many of you must have guessed when I hinted at it XD - is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.




The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, 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. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

pics via Pinterest - all credit to original creators

"The stillness of the tent becomes a quiet melancholy. Memories begin to creep forward from hidden corners of your mind. Passing disappointments. Lost chances and lost causes. Heartbreaks and pain and desolate, horrible loneliness. Sorrows you thought long forgotten mingle with still-fresh wounds. The stone feels heavier in your hand. When you drop it in the pool to join the rest of the stones, you feel lighter. As though you have released something more than a smooth polished piece of rock." ~ The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern


1. THE MOST UNIQUE, MOST EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUS EVER. Le Cirque des Rêves blew alllll my expectations out of the water. The creativity of this circus is OFF THE CHARTS, and I don't even know how I would begin to describe it. Nor would I even if I could - it's better to discover it for yourself.

2. The writing style is so exquisite it's almost otherworldly. I honestly can't decide which I loved more - the circus setting or the beautiful writing style. Refer back to the quote above to get a taste of what I'm talking about! The writing plunged DEEP into details, but at the same time it didn't bog the pages down with unnecessarily flowery description. The author painted every scene and character so vividly that getting lost in the moment was effortless. <3

3. The plot is slow-burn but never dull. I like a good slow-burn plot that keeps things interesting, whether that be with complex characters or answered questions that actually sprout more questions. The interlocking relationships among the big charrie cast in The Night Circus had me glued to the page.

To give you an idea of how perfectly the author handled the slow-burn plot... 1) I'm usually a slower reader, 2) this book is almost 400 pages WITH SMALL PRINT, and 3) I read it in EIGHT DAYS. I often take two weeks or more to read books shorter than that, so that should speak to how captivated I was by this story from beginning to end.

4. Poppet, Widget, and Bailey are the definition of precious and must be protected at all costs. My favorite characters in this book!! I'll also talk about them more below. :D In short: quirky redhead twins + a beautifully "normal" cinnamon-roll boy. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

5. Why 4 stars instead of 5? Mostly the main romance. I was excited to be reading this adult fantasy because I had read some reviews which implied very little questionable content. Like, waaaay less than the average contemporary YA. :P I went in knowing about the single f-bomb (it was literally on page 2, I think - and it was annoying, obviously, but also the only noteable language present). You'll have to highlight the next bit because I was afraid it could be a teensy spoiler? However, it's nothing important to the actual plot. In my opinion. Common Sense Media's main content review promised no romantic intimacy past some flirting and kissing, but... *sigh* Common Sense Media was dead wrong. ALWAYS TAKE THAT SITE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, KIDS. Basically, there was a short, undetailed Scene. I was able to mostly skip it, but I would have liked to skip it entirely. Just one, but I'm annoyed with myself because I trusted Common Sense Media and didn't search for content reviews further.

I didn't particularly love the main romance in general. In fact, I found it hard to relate to Marco and Celia as individual characters. Since I'm not EXACTLY the target audience for this book, I won't begrudge them that. They were fine, I just didn't click with either of them like I did with Poppet and Widget, and Bailey. :D

In short, did I love this book? For the most part? YES, I DID. IT WAS AMAZING. Will I be avoiding secular, contemporarily-written, adult fantasy from now on, seeing as there's always something bad in it? Probably.

Onto the story aspects contest!



// plot //

My one complaint is very small. Sometimes the events of a chapters happened yeeeears (or sometimes just months or weeks, I believe?) before the chapter immediately before or after it. Whenever the chronology switched, so did the POV, but it was still difficult to keep straight sometimes. :P
But mostly, as aforementioned, I LOVED the slow-burn plot.


// characters //

Bailey! Poppet! Widget! Although I couldn't relate to Marco and Celia a whole lot, I fell head over heels in love with these three children. <3 Poppet and Widget are red-haired twins born and raised as circus performers. They're weird, they have some fascinating abilities, and they are #SiblingGoals. And then Bailey is an ordinary kid with ordinary struggles, thrown into an extraordinary situation. They're beautiful, and the way their quirky, fun storyline merged with Marco and Celia's was brilliant. All the circus-founders were distinct and got heaps of captivating page time, and the way each of them contributed to the story was, again, BRILLIANT.


// setting //



And that's a wrap! My first official book review, in the bag. XD I'm planning to do one every month, but don't be surprised if I'm inconsistent with that.

I will also try to vary the kinds of books I review. That includes aspects like the book's genre, my star rating, and age group (MG, YA, etc.). We'll also see how that goes. XD

I'll see you next week with a recap of August!

The Lord's Truly,

Have you read The Night Circus? Do you want to? What do you think of this review and its format? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!!


  1. I love this format my dear!

    Ugh, Common Sense Media *grimaces* They're always the worst about that sort of thing.

    I already had this book on my TBR but I think it has been bumped up a few slots now...mwahahaha.

    1. Thanks!!

      They truly are; I don't know why I ever believed them. :P

      YESSSSS. It's truly fantastic!!

  2. This format is amazing! And I so want to read this book now! (Thank you for mentioning the *cough* Scene - now I’ll be prepared going into it. XD) Great review!

    1. I'm so excited you think so! READ IT - IT'S SO GOOD. (No problemo ;P)

      Thanks, Nicole!

  3. You totally rocked that review format, Lila! I loved reading this review. <3 <3

    This book sounds so good (other than the Scene, thanks so much for the warning XD)! I'll gave to add it to my TBR.

    1. Sorry for the typo! I meant "have," not "gave." *facepalm* XD XD

    2. Yayyy, I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Ash!! <3 <3

      ADD IT TO THAT TBR. And you're welcome - I wanted to make sure I mentioned it. :P

      Ugggh, typos. I FEEL YOU. They haunt us all. XD XD

  4. I love circus themed things (except clowns pleassseeeee noooo)! I'll have to add this to my TBR.

    1. Yessss, circuses are EPIC. And OH MY GOODNESS, YES, CLOWNS ARE TERRIFYING. *shudders*

      Do it!!

  5. The Night Circus is one of my very favorite books of all time! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I love the new review format.

  6. I adore this book! It's fantastic!

  7. Sometimes I love circuses, sometimes they scare me. This one sounds awesome!!! (well, besides that Scene. Humph.)

    1. Yeah, I guess it would depend on the circus. :P Usually they're pretty epic. :D

      It IS awesome!!! (Yeah, except the Scene. *sigh*)


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