I’m going to be completely honest with you guys: it took me around five months to finish this book. Now, it wasn’t a particularly difficult read and I definitely would not categorize myself as a slow reader, but unfortunately The Night Circus just didn’t draw me in like I hoped it would.
The reason why The Night Circus was such a brutal read for me was because it really is a long 500+ page book of descriptions. Yes, the flowery descriptive writing was incredibly beautiful and enjoyable and gave me a very vivid sense about everything there was about the circus, but there was very little going on beyond all the costumes and circus tents. I was very disappointed that there was so much emphasis on the setting and very little in comparison to the more important plot points like with the competition between Celia and Marco, who have been raised and trained their whole lives to be a victor in a competition that the reader is kept in the dark about for quite some time. Even worse, the competition that the book built up for turned out to be little more than creating different tents and performances and not actual magic dueling. I really wished there was more time spent describing how the competition really worked instead of Celia’s gowns and caramel apples.
There were times where the plot was a little confusing (which might’ve been prevented if I didn’t spread out my reading so much) between the characters and the competition itself. The plot itself continually jumps to different perspectives of different characters at different time periods, which only added to the confusion instead of driving the story forward. As much as I prefer stand alone books to series, it would almost have been better for Erin Morgenstern to have taken the side stories and included them into a companion novel or sequel or something so that the emphasis on the story would have been on Celia and Marco. Speaking of those two, I really hated their relationship; it just felt so forced and mechanical to me and lacked the magic that surrounded them in the competition and circus. The constant jumping around prohibited me from connecting to any of the characters – especially Celia and Marco who are supposed to be main characters – and took away the excitement of certain points because I was either confused as to what the heck was going on or because I just wanted to get through certain parts for the sake of getting closer to finishing the book.
It’s unfortunate that such a beautifully written book could wind up being so disappointing because The Night Circus really had the potential to be unforgettable. Of course, it was pretty unforgettable for those who really enjoy descriptive writing, but I personally am not patient enough to read several hundred pages before getting to the “meat” of the plot.