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Book Review: The Night Circus

By Julia Padgett

Occasionally, a book comes along that stays with you. The Night Circus did not change my life, but it definitely unearthed some rare and surreal element of my psyche. Like any good ringmaster, author Erin Morgenstern pulls you into this adventure with anticipation. “The circus arrives without warning.” These first words pull you in, but in no way prepare you for the forces that collide between the two young illusionists, Celia and Marco.

Bound to play a game not of their making, Celia and Marco each become more and more remarkable in their ability as time passes, and their awareness grows. Like most games, this one is meant to have only one victor. However, the competitors are pulled more towards collaboration than conflict. For that beautiful lesson alone, you should pick up a copy of the book. But most of us should read it because it is unlike anything else on the shelves.

People try to categorize all things, especially books. The Night Circus is not one you can pin down. It is a prism of intrigue, romance, magical realism, adventure, and fantasy. Whatever it is beyond a book — it is a true pleasure to read, and it will live in your mind long after you’re done reading it. It is told very well, and it’s full of well-crafted characters that Morgenstern deftly puts in place for a reason. She creates a world that we all want to spend time in while also making it feel like somewhere we might have visited as a child.

Like many other good books, The Night Circus is supposed to be made into a movie. My hope is that everyone will fall into these words well before the movie is released. The spell needs to be cast with paper and ink first, so that you will find yourself longing for the circus of dreams to appear with its black-and-white-striped tents, unexpectedly, on the edge of town.