Book Reviews

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Book Review (No Spoilers)

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Paperback copy of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

First published 2011 by Harvill Secker. This edition published 2012 by Vintage. Paperback, 502 pages.

My dad lent me The Night Circus at the end of March. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I have had plenty of time for reading, and one of my goals for April was to finish this one. The first thing I noted about this book is that it has a beautiful, eye-catching cover!

What is The Night Circus about?

The book is set in a magical circus that is only open between dusk and dawn. The circus travels between different locations all over the world. There is, however, a darker side to the circus because it is a venue for a competition between two people who possess magical powers. I don’t want to give too much away, but the book follows their story and the story of several other characters within or involved with the circus.

What is it like to read?

The book is full of beautiful, descriptive writing. It definitely paints a picture in your mind of what the circus is like. However, I did sometimes find myself glazing over the description a bit. Beautiful as it was, I could have done with a little less description and a little more action.

The narrative switches between different dates and locations throughout the book, often jumping backwards and forwards in time. This could be a little confusing at times because I lost track of which order the events happened in. Overall, I followed what was going on, but there were parts of the book I didn’t fully understand.

There is a romance aspect to the book which I didn’t find fully believable. Two characters were supposedly in love, but I felt like they hardly knew each other because they hadn’t interacted very much or spent time together. It was clear that they were strongly attracted to each other but I didn’t believe that their love could have had a chance to develop deeper than that.

The book has likeable characters, especially Poppet, Widget and Bailey. (you will find out who they are if you read the book!) It was interesting to see how the different characters’ storylines would all interweave towards the end.

Would I recommend The Night Circus?

Overall, I enjoyed this book but it didn’t totally blow me away. I’m not hugely into descriptive books, I prefer a faster pace and more action. However, if you personally like lots of description, you would probably love this book.

The author, Erin Morgenstern, appears to have written another book which was published last year, so I wouldn’t rule out giving that one a try.

You can buy The Night Circus on Amazon here

I would give this book 3 out of 5!

3 stars
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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Book Review


  1. This sounds interesting, but I’m like you when it comes to books. I don’t like descriptive books too much, either.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      This book is basically full-on description so it’s probably not one to add to your ‘to be read’ list!

  2. Sometimes I do like a descriptive book! I’ve heard loads of things about this book and always see it in the library!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      If you like a descriptive book, I think you would like this!

  3. lizofwords says:

    This one has been on my TBR for a long time now but I’m like you. I like a faster pace so I’m having second thoughts 🤔

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      It does move quite slowly but I’d say it’s still worth a try, and you can always quit halfway through if you’re finding it too slow!

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