But even if you’re not ready for clown shoes, you’ll enjoy escaping into Erin Morgenstern’s enchanting first novel, The Night Circus ... more than merely re-creating the Greatest Show on Earth, Morgenstern has spun an extravaganza that makes P.T. Barnum look smaller than Tom Thumb ... Echoing the immense pleasure of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell ... In ominous, atmospheric chapters of just a few pages each, Morgenstern moves quickly through the children’s supernatural preparation ...In fact, there’s probably too much going on here, even for a three-ring circus, and so many colorful characters that the protagonists can seem a bit underdeveloped ...Indeed, one of the most enthralling aspects of this novel is watching two lovers unfettered by the laws of nature or physics cast secret tokens of their affection to each other.
In The Night Circus, her debut novel, Erin Morgenstern works hard to create just such a sense of magic, but there finally seems to be something too sensible about her sensibility to pull off the trick. The novel is... just too real to be believed ... the echoes resound: The Tempest, Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, any of Dickens’s sensitive and beleaguered children, the HBO show Carnivàle, the brilliant Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials, with its tender adolescent pair, even Romeo and Juliet ... the two most powerful kinds of magic there are — the power of cruelty and the power of love — receive the least page time here, their pungency muffled in ice gardens, intricate clocks and floor-sweeping gowns that change color ... It’s not as pretty a spectacle, but that’s a story that grips the heart.
...Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, the story of two young magicians pitted against each other in an intricate, mysterious and lifelong competition ... Morgenstern is both a writer and a visual artist, and the world of The Night Circus is elaborately designed, fantastically imagined and instantly intoxicating — as if the reader had downed a glass of absinthe and leapt into a hallucination ... Having never published a single word before Doubleday scooped up her book, Morgenstern is living the kind of scrappy success story that adds mystique to an already hyped project ... As Morgenstern's sometimes exhilarating high-wire act comes to its close, The Night Circus almost evaporates, as if fading into the nocturnal haze with the flashbulbs and tents.
One can admire a work of fiction without particularly enjoying it; one can dislike a novel even while appreciating its value ... The Night Circus is a sprawling historical novel about magic and the circus. Highly whimsical, it is a narrative so wilfully contrived that contrivance is its raison d'être ... Rather than forcing its readers to be prisoners in someone else's imagination, Morgenstern's imaginary circus invites readers to join in an exploration of the possible ... novel's plot is fairly straightforward ... Whether they will destroy each other and the circus into the bargain, or whether they can escape their magical indentured servitude and rewrite their fates, emerges as the novel's central question ... Like any successful illusion, it could be carefully unravelled; but surely, as rare as it is, it should simply be enjoyed.
The book is engaging and magical, entrancing the reader every step of the way...creations such as a beautiful garden made entirely of non-melting ice, and a house of mirrors that shows you more than just distorted images of yourself, Morgenstern creates a circus of which one can only dream ... She tells the story of Celia and Marco, bound together by an oath made during their childhood. They are both opponents and lovers, and only later do they discover that their magic duel must end in the death of one of them ... Some might simply dismiss this perhaps as a frothy YA (Young Adult) love story or a piece of genre fiction...It is actually far from either.
Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, The Night Circus, is quietly, enchantingly perfect ... Morgenstern is an artist as well as a writer, and her novel is lusciously visual. Every scene is like a medieval painting, saturated with color and detail; each realistic facet only enhances the mystical strangeness of the whole ... But this is and is not a story of love conquering all ... Like all good art, including novels that must lead us through to a final, beautiful page, the circus' triumph lies in its legacy rather than in its survival.
Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus ...Hector immediately hatches a sinister scheme for Celia: pit her against a rival's young magician in an epic battle of magic that will, by design, result in the death of one of the players, though neither Celia nor her adversary, Marco, is informed of the inevitable outcome. What neither Hector nor his rival count on is that Celia and Marco will eventually fall in love. ... perfectly realized and live easily in a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom.
Self-assured, entertaining debut novel that blends genres and crosses continents in quest of magic ... as first-time novelist Morgenstern imagines it, two wizards there are, if likely possessed of more legerdemain than true conjuring powers...stands to reason, the laws of the universe working thus, that their children would meet and, rather than continue the feud into a new generation, would instead fall in love ... Morgenstern treads into Harry Potter territory, but though the chief audience for both Rowling and this tale will probably comprise of teenage girls, there are only superficial genre similarities ... Generous in its vision and fun to read.