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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

I don’t want to expend much effort on The Night Circus, because I know that with thousands of reviews, dozens of which have hundreds of likes, my lukewarm thoughts will be buried in no time. So I’ll keep it relatively brief.

What I liked? The color, or lack thereof. The setting and scenery of this novel are, in my opinion, its very best qualities. The circus, with its black and white tents and dashes of red, is stunning. The various shows are worth the price of admission. It’s perhaps too easy a comparison to make, but I doubt any fan of Tim Burton’s movies can read this novel without thinking of his style of moviemaking. Also, I liked the bones of this story. It’s an interesting premise and, as an outline, it works great.

What I didn’t like? Despite having a great premise, the story itself is so incredibly dry. This is a great example of a plot-driven novel. Events happen, then more events, but there’s little to no reflection or character development. People eat this style up, and I know I’m in the minority, but I find it boring. Even though it’s focused on plot, The Night Circus fails by telling far too many of the details without showing them: pivotal scenes are surmised by conversations between characters. Likewise, the romance is artificial. The only reason we know the two leads are in love is because the reader is told they are. No spark is evident between them.

Recommended for fans of adventure-based epics with more show than substance