The Night Circus suffered from a weird reverse-hype syndrome for me. That goes something like this:
1. Oo, I have just registered that this book is out with awesome premise and magic and stuff; I want to read it.
2. Wait a minute, this book of magic and stuff is getting awful lot of hype, so it possibly can't be very good.
You'd think you'd come to conclusion that if many people really like a book, it must be good, right? Or at least that's what the logic says; past experiences have, of course, shown that hyped books are pretty much two-edged blades.
Anyway, I must confess, the amount of hype is what made me postpone The Night Circus for about 9 months, since I actually had the book on my shelf since the beginning of the year. So I was glad when RIP VIII came along and I had excuse to finally tackle Erin Morgenstern's debut novel.
I'm not going to add a synopsis because it's known and easily accessible. Let's just say there is a magical circus that appears and disappears however and whenever it pleases, and there are lots of mysteries surrounding it and people involved.
My biggest problem with this book was definitely the characters. They just felt a bit shallow. I felt I wanted to know more about them. The two main characters, Celia and Marco, were the blandest ones for me. They seemed to be used just like tools in actions, and I didn't buy the romance at all. Some of the side characters were a lot more interesting and intriguing (Isobel, the twins).
At times I even felt like the circus itself was the main character of this book, and everyone around it just props - in a way, that approach works for the benefit of the book.
That being said, I did give The Night Circus a rather generous rating because it did what I expected it to do, and namely transfer me to a different world. Morgenstern's strengths lie in descriptions and atmosphere creation, and these were truly wonderfully done. When the book moved from dialogue to the streets or into the circus, I was gulping it down. The language is so simple and so accessible, but at the same time so magical.
I think it is a good attempt for a debut novel and I'll be curious to see what Morgenstern decides to write next.
What other people thought of The Night Circus:
Book review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern by Melissa at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern by Adam at Roof Beam Reader
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Sometimes I'm also suspicious about very popular books. I begin to think it's all only promotion and nothing else. But sometimes a good book is a good book, and even good advertising can't spoil it :)ReplyDelete
Exactly. Hyped books can also mean that they are actually quite mediocre, because something that masses love is not so often very special :)Delete
I have been putting this book off because it was a hyped book too. There is a stubborn part inside of me that goes "no, I will not read what everyone else is reading!"ReplyDelete
I'm glad you mainly liked it though, as I'm hoping to pick it up for RIP too. My expectations aren't TOO high, so hopefully I will enjoy it.
Yes, I am exactly the same. Even though I realise it's stupid attitude, because the books could be actually pretty decent. Only now I started reading Harry Potter books, and I have no inclination to read Hunger Games or those other things that have reached cult status.Delete
I've TOTALLY been avoiding this book because of the hype, but I'm gonna tackle it for RIP too. Hopefully I like it, because I feel like I'm always the odd one out who hates the super popular books.ReplyDelete
Yeah, it's good to give a super popular book a chance once in a while, even if only to prove that you were right to hate it from the beginning.Delete
Your thoughts on this one are very close to mine. I thought the story was lacking in many areas but the prose was absolutely beautiful.ReplyDelete
Thanks for linking to my review!
Yes, as someone somewhere said, it's not a book you read for characters, but if you are looking for something really atmospheric, it kinda meets its goal.Delete
Too much hype always makes me skeptical of books. And I agree so much that the characters are shallow. The book is so much more about setting and atmosphereReplyDelete
I don't know if Erin Morgenstern is working on something new, but it would be interesting to see if her character development will change in her future works because I think this is what has been criticised the most about this book, by far.Delete
I found this book before there was too much hype (the cover grabbed me and shouted BUY ME! BUY ME! It's so pretty...) but I agree with you, hype can so often put me off a book. I read Divergent, for example, just to find out why everyone was gushing about it, and honestly, I'm still not sure of that. But this one was absolutely beautiful (although I do agree with you that the characters are not what you read it for.)ReplyDelete
I'm actually always happy when I get to a book before the hype (looking at you, George R.R. Martin's famous series), because somehow I feel I can give more honest opinion and if I really like or dislike the book I feel my opinion is not swayed by hype.Delete
Ooo and it was you who said characters is not why you read this book for :D I thought I read it from another review for some reason :)