My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Something else entirely.
Mysterical. That’s the only word I can come up with, even if it is only my own. Magical, lyrical, and mysterious all at once. Before I get down to details and the nitty-gritty of the book, please allow me a moment to share my feelings on the whole.
It more poetry, really, than prose. A book that reads like a puzzle. Each piece fits together in its place, but you don’t know how when you start, and if you’re honest, you admit you don’t really know what your building, either. If for nothing else, you should read this book just for the sheer artistry-the same way you would admire Van Gogh’s Starry Night, or listen to Beethoven’s Für Elise. Beautiful, moving, but not quite comprehendible.
As for details and such, I liked the magical circus which was the setting for most of the book, and the various characters who took the stage in turn. They were relatable, and full of depth. Another thing that amazed me was the artist’s-excuse me, author’s- grasp of writing in the present tense. This is not an easy thing to do. But it was carried off masterfully. Also, the second person glimpses hidden here and there were delightful as well.
Unfortunately, I cannot give this book five stars. In fact, giving it four was a stretch that I made given the beauty and depth of this novel.
These are the reasons why:
First, the romance is not clean. Two of the characters end up having sex, and while this is a fairly easy scene to skip over, it would have been a better book without it. Also, one of the characters seems to have homosexual leanings. It is implied more than stated, but is offensive nonetheless. My other big problem with this book was the dark undercurrent that pervades the book. Not all may pick up on this, but I did, and I didn’t like. It was most notably expressed in one character’s affinity for reading tarot cards and telling the future. Magic was not defined as light or dark, and it was up to the reader to determine wrong and right.
That being said, I believe this is still a book worth reading for mature and discerning readers. The author’s style and use of second and third person tense, and the writing in present tense, make The Night Circus all the more beautiful.
Recommendation:17 and up (for mature and discerning readers due to concerning content)
Language: 6/10 (Not a lot of profanity, but a variety of bad words are definitely there. Worth breaking out the trusty sharpie.)
Violence:6/10 (Some disturbing scenes of injury and self-harm, and a murder.)
Sexual Content:10/10 (There is a sex scene on page, and the romance seems more like lust at first sight than real love. Based very much on physical touching and attraction. Another character is implied to be homosexual. A few insinuating remarks.)
Note: For Christians, this book is very thought provoking, and provides a stepping stone to discussions on good vs evil, and black and white morals vs grey areas. Unless you are firm in your convictions, it is recommended that you wait to read this book, as it is not inherently clear on its morals.