Recommendation: BEACH READ! BEACH READ! Okay, I do recognize it’s winter at the moment, so I will also recommend this to anyone who has a soft spot for romantic comedies (I, of course, hate romcoms because I’m a big burly stereotype of a man with robot muscles where my emotions are supposed to be).
Hooray! Natalie Grace Jones guessed it, and now she has a free book heading her way. We have The Night Circus up now, and it’s a fun one. A circus, a magical game, and a love story all in one—what more could you ask for? Well, I guess there’s character development and great writing and a good plot, so we’ll talk about those in a bit.
The Night Circus tells the story of Celia and Marco, apprentices to the two greatest magicians of all-time, who are locked in a mysterious game. Neither fully knows the rules when the circus begins, but they try to outdo each other by creating the ultimate attraction. Eventually, they begin to fall in love, but when they do they discover that the game they’re playing has much higher stakes than they imagined.
You’re gonna get caught up in this book whether you want to or not. It’s just one of those stories. There are so many aspects that are fun or fascinating and, even though you suspect you know how it will end, it isn’t just spelled out for you. The plot is captivating. I really wish I could think up anything as beautiful as the world that Morgenstern creates here, but my brain has yet to spit out such a golden nugget. I will say that the pacing is about one tick too slow and you’ll likely get ahead of the game and see how things connect before Marco or Celia have put the dots together. Not the biggest deal, but it was a spot that could have done with some tightening.
As you would expect at a circus, the characters are extremely diverse and unique. Morgenstern does a really good job of keeping a handle on all of the important ones, feeding out enough info to keep you on the hook without completely explaining everything about everyone right from the get go. The writing was a little cloudy, but honestly this book was just so much fun that I didn’t really mind it that much, and it’s not like Morgenstern is a scrub by any means. She’s got an electric story and she tells it well. My main issue with The Night Circus is that the ending fizzled away instead of leaving me with a memorable, explosive finale. I’m pretty sure this is Morgenstern’s first published novel, so I’m not surprised that she couldn’t quite finish with the same flourish that graces the rest of the pages. Endings are extremely difficult, and it usually takes a writer some time before they really get the hang of them. Personally, I completely avoid this dilemma by NEVER EVER finishing a story that I’ve started to write. It’s a risky method, but I think it’ll win me some awards eventually (the Natio Boo Awa, The Ooker Ize, shoot, maybe even a Litzer Ize).
Anyways, this is a really good book when you’re looking for straight entertainment. It isn’t incredibly profound, it’s not the most technical, but it is the perfect book for when you want a fun, absorbing tale.
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