The Night Circus Review

“And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead.” (Erin Morgenstern)

The story of “The Night Circus” is full of excitement, sorrow, fear, and suspense. This combination equates to a fulfilling read or listen that left me engaged and wanting to know more. The story begins in darkness with only black and white surroundings. This blank canvas is then revealed to be a circus known as “Le Cirque des Reves.” This minimalistic introduction left me wanting to investigate deeper into what exactly this black and white circus indeed was. Throughout the first portion of this book, I felt as though I was being told three different stories- one about Celia, one about Marco, and one about Bailey. As these stories began to unfold, I found a connection between Celia and Marco’s; however, I was left wondering what the significance of Bailey’s character was until the end of the book. I enjoyed the fact that this story was told from multiple point of views. At times, I had more insight on the story than certain characters had. For example, I discovered that Marco knew that Celia was his competitor early on; however, Celia was unaware of this until later on when they found themselves out in the pouring rain discussing Marco’s magical umbrella. I felt as though I was a part of the story, as if I was an insider. The “competition” between Marco and Celia was more of a death match that never seemed to be resolved. As I was listening to this dramatic, obsessive, love challenge, I was left pondering how exactly this could end in harmony. Speaking of the end, I was unimpressed with the choice of plot. I will say that the love “suicide” was an unexpected twist, but I felt as though this was the easy way out. I was left wondering what exactly happened to Celia and Marco and what their “death” choice meant for the circus. Even though I did not enjoy this drastic end to the competition, I found it fascinating that the very end of this book became a loop with Widget beginning to tell Mr. A.H. the story of “The Night Circus.” In my mind, this signified that the story was not over, it was only beginning again.

I would like to ask all of you a particular question regarding your own intricate way of processing information. If a review such as this one were read to you, do you believe that it would be processed and taken in the same way as if you had read it yourself? Do you believe that you would have read this review the same way that I would have spoken it? To answer my own question, I do not believe that the act of reading a physical book is synonymous with listening to it. “The Night Circus” was the first book that I had ever listened to through an audiobook. I felt as though I was being forced to perceive a character in the way that the reader wanted me to rather than how I would if I was reading the physical book. I felt as though certain scenes were dramatized in a way that felt unrealistic. For example, the scene where Marco first laid eyes on Celia at her audition was told in a way that forced me to feel as though Marco was looking at some sort of angel. The way it was told to me made me think that Marco had an ill obsession with Celia. However, if I had read this myself, I would have concluded that Marco saw this first encounter with Celia as the start of a love story rather than a fantasized fixation. Another issue that arose while I was listening to the audiobook was the setting and characters. It took me several chapters to develop my awareness of who was who. The first few chapters became a blur because I was unable to map out which characters were connected and which characters were irrelevant until I progressed further into the book. As for the setting, it felt as though each chapter was in a different location and was discussing a different character. It also took me quite some time to become accustomed to settings and dates. However, I felt as though if I had physically read the names and setting with my own eyes, it would have taken me much less time to become accustomed, and I would have been able to follow the plot much easier.