Review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

September 21, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern; Read by Jim Dale
13 Hours 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House
Published: 2011
Themes: / Fantasy / Fairy Tale / Magic /

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians….” (from the publisher summary)

It isn’t often that I download a book as soon as it is released, but I’ve been hearing about The Night Circus for months.  A co-worker tracked down an ARC before it even came out, and declared that she loved it and so would I.  I believed her, but still thought I’d wait.  The tipping point was hearing that Jim Dale was the reader.

I first encountered Jim Dale when I listened to the audiobooks for Harry Potter.  Besides bringing the stories I already loved to life, I had the distinct impression that Jim Dale is the voice I’ve always heard in my head when I read a book that immerses me into another world.  His nuance in character voicing and compelling emotion increases the reading experience one hundred fold.  It was a no-brainer; I had to read this book.

The story bounces between different people who relate to the circus in some way, and moves at will between cities and years, just as the circus does.  Eventually the relationship between the characters starts to be revealed, starting with the midnight banquets, one of my favorite moments in the book. Details weave together to describe the mysterious, magical place of the night circus that kept me so absorbed that I would make up reasons to keep listening… taking the long way home, going through the  coffee drive-through, and taking on cleaning projects.

I have seen comparisons with Ray Bradbury and J.K. Rowling, but I keep thinking of Catherynne Valente, particularly the world she created for Palimpsest.  This is a time to believe the hype.  The Night Circus is magical.

Posted by Jenny Colvin