A Pleasant Surprise

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Pages: 517
Rating: 4.5 of 5

I’m wary of wildly hyped books; I seldom read stories centered on romance; I am usually annoyed by present-tense narration; and sumptuous descriptive prose really isn’t my thing. All that to say:  there is no way that I should have enjoyed The Night Circus…but I did! (and, yes, I  know I’m late to this party).

I don’t want to say a lot about the plot because the publisher’s blurb is spoiler-y enough (while still seeming to completely miss the tone of the book). The novel is as much a dreamy (but not psychedelic or nonsensical) exploration of the Night Circus itself as it is about the romance and conflict of the characters. I enjoy character-driven stories, but I have to say this was the first setting-driven story I’ve come across as far as I can remember. The exotic black white and gray swirl of tents, automata, and performers is captivating, and as the book  meandered dreamily along I found myself worrying about whether all this magical beauty was going to be engulfed in tragedy and death by the end (I’m not telling whether that’s the direction this ultimately takes or not).

Overall, some of the romance made me roll my eyes a bit, but I was drawn to the magical, dreamy descriptions and slowly unfolding plot.