Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - CookieBreak Skip to content

Review: 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.”


What I thought:

This book was magic, go read it.

My, that was much easier than expected! 😀

*ahem* *tries again*

The Night Circus is, above all else, about a competition between two young people who had no say in whether they wanted to compete. The game begins in a way every kid ever has dreamed off – when they are children, Celia and Marco begin to learn how to use magic, real magic, and use it to create, to heal, and do accomplish miracles. Neither of them realises what the competition is meant to achieve, only that they have to play it, that they can’t leave, and that it’s over when it’s over. Clear instructions aren’t given, and so they join Le Cirque des Rêves – Celia as the Illusionist, and Marco working from behind the scenes – without really knowing what’s expected of them besides victory.

“I tried to explain as much as I could,” Poppet says. “I think I made an analogy about cake.”

“Well, that must have worked,” Widget says. “Who doesn’t like a good cake analogy?”

(chosen because cake, and because I’m also struggling to explain)

The various tents that make up the circus are seemingly made of magic – with the only exceptions being Celia’s and Marco’s tents, which are actually made of magic. Everything is part of the game, and Celia and Marco are the only people aware of it. The game unfolds slowly and gets more intricate, more wonderful, more dangerous, with every bit that’s revealed. It was so intriguing to see how everything falls into place, especially once the pieces had begun to crumble.

One of my favourite aspects are the different sections. At the beginning of each new part, you get a brief but detailed insight written in second person. That way, Morgenstern takes you through her circus, not as a reader but as a visitor, and it’s a magical experience.

“But what’s the use in seeing the future if I can’t do anything to stop it?”

“You cannot stop things,” Celia says. “You can only be prepared for them to happen.”

I hope I’ll have the time at some point to read this again. There’s so much going on that I don’t think it’s possible to notice everything the first time around. I might even take notes next time! Word of advice? Pay attention to the dates and locations at the beginning of every new chapter, and savour every glance into the individual tents.

Also, do yourself a favour and read this.


Have you read The Night Circus, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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  1. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book, it’s a wonder why I never bothered reading it. Better get myself a copy and force myself to do it.

  2. I’m one of the (very few) that didn’t like The Night Circus. Yes, it’s beautiful and magical, but for me boring as well. I’ve found I’m not the type to enjoy a book, where the setting is the main-character. I felt it might work better as a film or video-game, in which one could explore at their own leisure.
    Good that you enjoyed it though, Sarina. A good start to the reading year 🙂

    • What do you mean by that? For me, the setting was the circus. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. We can’t enjoy every book. Better luck for your next read 🙂

      • The setting is the circus, but the circus is also the main character of this book 🙂 But as you said wisely, better luck next time 🙂

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