Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Night Circus`

Let it be known: I have mixed feeling about this book. I have also recently become far more stingy with my star allotment on and that fact indirectly affects this review.

Okay, anyway. "The Night Circus" was beautiful. Really, really beautiful. It was a fantastic novel with fantastic characters and managed to produce more heart strings than I could have imagined capable of being pulled.

This novel features a contortionist who has the tragedies/symbols/mementos surrounding her life tattooed on her body because she got tired of writing them on paper and needed something more permanent to engrave her precious words upon. There is a forest confined within a circus tent, created by a magician for the woman he loves, full of trees that are constructed solely from the lines of Shakespearean sonnets. There is a woman who wears a white dress covered in what seems like spools of black thread lining the fabric, which we discover is actually love letters written to her years ago from a regrettably lost lover, his words enfolding her forever in the gown. There is an 8 line love scene involving torn corsets, ink stained hands and shuddering chandeliers.

Yeah, this book has the makings of what could be a Melissa Favorite Forever. Alack, alas, it does not live up to its grandiose potential. And there was so much potential! Blargh.

This book will definitely be re-read as soon as I have the time, (as books of this nature certainly need re-reading) but the problem is that there are too many details and too many lost nuances in its pages. In my own mind, I thought of at least three different ways this story could have ended with tragedy, grace or beauty; based on the information the author gave me prior to the last 100 pages. Neither options came to be.

The greatest undoing of this novel is what also makes it so lovely-- the description. The details, though always important, are often in excess and lead nowhere. The descriptions that do amount to something are so lost in the jumble you can barely recall them. The details you do recall enough to predict, are usually wrong. And not wrong in a satisfying, "This book is so damn smart and I am so damn smart and I figured the plot out before the author even did." kinda way.


There is much that could have been done with the detail, there is much that could have been illuminated within the final pages. It simply wasn't.

My main problem with "The Night Circus" is that it took too much time building up and not enough time explaining down. In this truly epic story of love and fate, I fell disconcerted by the lack of, dare I say it-- imagination for a proper ending?

...Oh dear, I'm afraid The Night Circus just unraveled.

1 comment:

  1. I read a lot and this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Gorgeously written. Drew me in with the first paragraph and didn't let me go, even after it ended. She sustains the magic of her story to the very last word, which is not always the case with authors. I've read books that were wonderful until the last 5 pages, then the author just didn't seem to know where to go with the end of the story. Not the case with "The Night Circus". My book group is reading this for our October book, so I'm in the middle of reading it for the second time and loving it just as much. In fact I'm noticing things I missed the first time around. Enjoy!