The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern – Book (bad) Review

The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus was sticking out of the library shelf like a sore thumb, and after having read some intriguing reviews and some good things from Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveller’s Wife) and Tea Obreht (The Tiger’s Wife), I thought I’d give it a shot. It really is beautiful on the outside but iffy and lazily written on the inside. Now, when I say this book is beautiful on the outside, I really mean that. The design is stunning, it has wonderfully black dip dyed pages and a lovely ribbon marker.

The story is about a mysterious travelling circus that arrives without warning and opens only at night. It has countless tents containing a whole manner of fantastical elements. It is also a love story, one that goes on behind the scenes of the circus between two magicians – Marco and Celia, who had been trained since childhood to fight a duel.

Now, this story annoyed the hell out of me for multiple reasons. Morgenstern can’t help but go overboard with the ultra lavish descriptions. Take this one for example. Inside, the train is opulent, gilded and warm. Most of the passenger cars are lined with thick patterned carpets, upholstered in velvets, in burgundies and violets and creams as though they have been dipped in a sunset, hovering in twilight and holding onto the colours before they fade to midnight and stars.

Far, far too much of this book is spent going on and on and on about the colour of dresses and the embellishments of the tents and trains and whatever else. I found myself growing all the more frustrated. She truly sacrificed her characters. All of them. And we all know that characters are THE most important element of a story. If you don’t care about the characters, what’s the point? And I didn’t like the characters, at all. Celia and Marco especially. They drove me fucking insane with their cutesy love affair and ott adoration of each other. I was almost retching numerous times, and I said aloud, more often than I can remember, ‘fucksake.’ Both Celia and Marco felt spineless and selfish. Isobel, the poor girl involved with Marco was caught in between the two and was treated like shit from the word go. Little miss gorgeous goody-two shoes Celia never did anything wrong, apparently, and arrogant, devious Marco, fuck, he needed a good punch in the face, then one in the nuts for good measure. The other characters were boring and forgettable. Again, Morgenstern was more bothered about what they were wearing rather than their personalities or development. The clichés mounted on top of each other and were soon spilling off the pages. I hate to give a book a bad review, honestly, I do, but in this case it was unavoidable.

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