by Luke Goldstein
I’ve been thinking about how to write a review of this book without resorting to the obvious and cliché terms of ‘magical’, ‘colorful’ and ‘transporting’, but I realized without those words I’d likely never write the review at all.
The Night Circus is the story of a traveling circus which escapes all previously known descriptions. It is more than just traveling acts; these tents are filled with magic, illusions and wonder all coated in lush, vivid colors. Unbeknownst to the awestruck patrons, the circus is also the venue for a longtime feud between two immensely powerful magicians. Two new players become entwined in a story much older than them, but this time, they just might find a way to end it for good.
I’ve gone to the circus a few times as a kid, but never as an adult, yet this imaginary circus would be one I would flock to in a heartbeat. Inside every tent was something to take your breath away. Wonder abounds behind the flaps and it continues to grow with each place the circus disappears to. The details Morgenstern creates for the circus are on par with the lush creations of Rice’s Garden District or Gibson’s dreams of cyberspace.
The characters feel fleshed out and layered, which makes them believable. They struggle, most of them anyway, with things beyond their control, which is necessary for any good dramatic story to keep going.
The elements Morgenstern puts into this book make it a perfect choice for transition to film, but without giving any spoilers away, I would only hope the screenplay finds a bit more edge for the ending. She finds herself in a situation like Stephen King always used to, where the world is so vibrant, layered and full of so many moving parts, it’s like being written into a literary corner with no way out. The final act feels rushed, almost ‘deus ex machina’ like without an actual god to fix everything.
Yet, with that being said, it’s a very fun read with a real flourish for fans of things beyond the ordinary.
Did any of you read it? What did you think?