Brian always laughs at my reviews of all things meant to entertain -- TV shows, movies, books -- because I tend to give average ratings. Out of 5 stars, I tend to give 3. Three stars meant I enjoyed it, and that it did its job. 4 means I really enjoyed it, but it still left me wanting. 5 is hard to come by. 5 must blow my socks off. Must really touch me in some way.
And, something did, recently. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Even halfway through this book it had enchanted me. And today I finished it, and it did not disappoint. Oh sure, I wish some things had turned out differently, but I see how they ended up like they did. And that perhaps they needed to.
So, here is my Goodreads review about this book:
I hardly ever give 5 star reviews, but if I could, I would give it even more stars. Yes, this book was THAT good!
I love, love, love this book. Honestly, if I could say that I was in love with a book, then I would say that about this book.
To me, this is a book that I could see myself writing (if I had this story to tell). The language was beautiful, but not overly done. The characters were interesting, but not caricatures (which could have been easy to do, seeing as this was about a circus).
The mood was Victorian and Gothic, mysterious, and magical. I felt drawn into a world that I could only compare to the movies The Illusionist/The Prestige, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. And yet not quite, yet so much more.
When reading this book, I did not feel like I was reading a story; I felt like I was being taken on a journey, as if I was part of the experience. This was partly helped by the author's use of small vignettes regarding aspects of the circus to help draw the reader in.
The only thing that somewhat took me aback was the use of 3rd person present tense, which isn't something usually done, and that there are overlapping stories that jump a little back and forth in the timeline of this book. However, you get mostly used to the tense, and you see why the author chose to move along the timeline as she did. After all, many of her characters say, "it's all about timing."
I originally got this book from the library, but this IS a book I will own soon. It has been deemed worthy enough to join the ranks of my other beloved hardbacks.
I cannot recommend this book enough. You may not love it as much as I do, but I think you'll be hard pressed to say you didn't enjoy it.
It has officially been added to my all-time favorite books!
After I posted this, I saw some reviews by other people that gave it 1 or 2 stars. Really?? But, I guess that's what makes life interesting -- people have so many different points of view. So, this book wasn't for them, and that's okay. It was completely meant for ME. And I am totally okay with that. ^_^