** spoiler alert ** My final thoughts on Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – possible spoilers.
I think on a scale of 1-10, I give Night Circus around a 4 or 5. There was much that I found annoying about the book, but a lot of that diminished when I switched over to the audiobook. Possibly because with an audiobook I sometimes tune out.
The author herself was clearly in love with the setting she created. That is why she describes it endlessly. ENDLESSLY! I had a couple of moments where I yelled at the recording, “We GET IT!! It is black and white and magical! The fanboys/girls wear a bit of red. Move the &^%$ on, already!”
When trying to listen to the audiobook, I was not able to listen with my husband in the car as the descriptions and endless frothing of the mouth over the setting was too much for him. He heard maybe 5 minutes of the audiobook but could describe the circus perfectly because the circus is described over and over and over and over and over….. He actually has more patience than I do with this sort of nonsense most of the time, but even when he was asleep in the car I had to listen to something other than this book. He found it THAT annoying.
Furthermore, in one or two of the second person intros (vignettes? whatever), the author uses them to good effect. In the rest it doesn’t work well – this was not a choose your own adventure book and if it is not a CYOA book, than saying “You do this thing that you would never do” or “You are here” just makes me aware that I am reading a book as I would clearly never do any of those things. Trying to tell me what I am doing, saying, thinking, or feeling doesn’t work, which is why second person is tricky at best and god awful annoying at worst. She pulls off tricky twice, the rest of the time it was god awful annoying. And again, it seemed to me like she uses the second person narrative to put you into the setting of the circus, which she clearly loved, so she felt the need to shove you there, too. Whether you liked it or not.
I love the tarot readings and the use of the fortune teller Isobel in the book. I found her much more likable than Marco, the dolt she pines for. I like quite a lot of the secondary characters, and I really like the Circus’ clock – that was one area of description that I truly enjoyed as it was really cool to think about.
Celia was easy to like, but Marco was not because he was obsessive. About everything. All the time. Even his love for Celia. I also felt like the despicable way he treated Isobel was fairly distasteful and suggested that he might be just as bad as the two men who created the whole duel in the first place.
I felt that the descriptions of magic and its consequences were very cool. I also liked the secondary characters of Bailey, Poppy, and Widget. Reading about them was very cool and enjoyable.
I think if I had tried to stick with the print version I would never have made my way through this book. Long trips in the car by myself made completion possible and the latter half of the book does pick up the pace – not much more than description and mystery happens in the first half of the book and that type of thing is hard to slog through. Just say, “The mountains are pretty!” and let’s move on with our day!
This is not a book I would read again, and will more than likely forget about except that I will remember it was annoying, overly descriptive, and the author was way too much in love with the world she created and thus, could not tell a decent story.