Rameau’s review archive: 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.

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book is fools gold. It’s pretty and it glimmers but there’s absolutely nothing of worth inside.

Because Lucy already did the “let’s take the blurb and point out each and every lie in it” review, I’m just going to say this—maybe more later maybe not, but for now this:

I did like many of the storytelling methods Morgenstern used. I liked the nonlinearity (see spoiler below), I liked the detailed description of the world, and I did even like some of the characters. What I didn’t like was that all that beauty and theoretic storytelling genius was wasted on something as pointless, plotless, and wholly worthless endeavour as this story of a night circus. It’s like looking at a beautiful spread of canvas thinking “I want that, I bet there’s treasure inside” only to find out what you’ve been looking is a hot air balloon that’ll occasionally waft a little warm air at your direction.


Rating icon. A stack of books and the words a total failure and an outline of a skull and bones drawn over them.


For Blodeuedd:

These are the place and setting details from the beginning of each chapter (I removed the spoilery notes I made for myself):
London October 1873
London January 1874
Magic lessons, 1875-1880
London, May-June 1884
July-November 1884
London December 1884
Concorde, Massachusetts, September 1897
London, February 1885
New York, March 1885
London, September 1885
Munich 1885
London, April 1886
Concord, Massachusetts, October 1902
London, October 13 and 14, 1886
Concord, Massachusetts, October 1902
Lyon, September 1889
Cairo, November 1890
Paris, May 1891
London, September 1891
September-December 1893
Vienna, January 1894
Prague, March 1894
Concord, Massachusetts, October 1902
Barcelona, November 1894
London, April 1895
Munich, April 1895
Celia meets Friedrick
Glasgow, April 1895
Concord, Massachusetts, October 1902
London, August 1896
London, Friday, October 13, 1899
Marco makes many unbelievable claims, quits the game, and storms out
Concord, Massachusetts, October 1902
London, March 1900
London, Basel, and Constantinople 1900
Dublin, June 1901
Concord, Massachusetts, October 30, 1902
London, October 30, 1901
London, October 31–November 1, 1901
Concord, Massachusetts, October 31, 1902
London, October 31–November 1, 1901
Concord, Massachusetts, October 30 and 31, 1902
London, November 1, 1901
En route from London to Munich, November 1, 1901
Concord and Boston, October 31, 1902
Montreal, August 1902
September 1902
En route from Boston to New York, October 31, 1902
London, October 31, 1902
New York, November 1, 1902
New York, October 31, 1902
New York, November 1, 1902
London, December 1902
Paris, January 1903

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6 Responses to Rameau’s review archive: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. I admit I heard so many bad things about this book that I won’t be reading it for sure. Such a waste of time.

  2. heidenkind says:

    I DNF’d this book about halfway through. It was SO BORING. I was like, “Point? Any day now…”

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