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Literary Friday: The Night Circus

Friday, October 7, 2011


This week I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  Actually, I read it in about two days because I could not put it down!  I think this novel might make my Top Three Books of 2011 list. I love the opening line of the story:

"The circus arrives without warning."

Consider yourself forewarned.  I was hooked after the first sentence, so once you start reading this book, you will get nothing done until you finish it.  Trust me.

I know that so much has been written about this book, but I refused to read the reviews because I did not want my reading experience tainted by spoilers. What I did notice was that The Night Circus made the top pick of the September 2011 Indie Next List.  Whitney Spotts' first line in her review says: 

"This elegant debut is a striking example of a nostalgic, yet modern fairy tale."  

I stopped reading right there.  That was all I needed to know because I was intrigued with the notion of a nostalgic, yet modern fairy tale.

I will try to tempt you into reading The Night Circus by giving you as few spoilers as possible.

The Conflict:  Two master magicians bet that his protege can defeat the other's in a game.

The Plot:  The proteges are chosen while they are children and are trained in magic.  Each master magician uses very different methodologies in the training of his pupils.

The Players:   Marco and Celia are the competitors.  One discovers who his or her competitor is long before the other.

The Setting:   Le Cirque des Reves is the primary setting for the story and game.  The collaboration of several interesting secondary characters, the Circus of Dreams (English translation) is a feast for all the senses in spite of the fact that everything in the circus is white, black and shades of gray.  I could tell that Erin Morgenstern is also a visual artist.  It shows in her writing.

The Mood:   The mood is definitely dreamlike, mysterious, and magical.  It contains all the elements you would expect in a fairy tale.  It also has a dark element as the circus is only open at night.  There are some unanswered questions in the book, but this does not detract from the story.

The Problem:   The circus members for the most part are unaware of the game being played around them, and the players do not know the rules agreed to by their masters.

Another Problem:   Have a dictionary handy.  With chapters entitled Horology, Ailuromancy, and Cartomancy, it might just come in handy. 

One spoiler I will share with you is that the circus attracts a fanatical following similar to Dead Heads.  They are called Reveurs, and they wear the colors of the circus to blend in, but wear a shock of red (scarf, tie, flower, etc.) to distinguish themselves from the average circus attendee.

I hope you will pick up The Night Circus the next time you are in a book store, library, or shopping for your ereader.  I admit that I am definitely a Reveur!

Don't forget that Bonnie and I will be hosting our What We're Reading Linky Party on Thursday, September 20th, here on my blog.

What We're Reading
Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. Love your new blog-header photo.
    and YES,a pop of red is always fashionable I think I might be a reveurs.
    Have a great weekend

  2. It sounds good! I went to the library yesterday...time to go again! ♥

  3. Hi Ricki! You know, I always wanted to post book reviews in my struggling blog. ;-) Problem is I am a slow reader. It would take me months to finish a thick novel. I may not comment but I look forward to your book review posts.

  4. Ooh, that sounds good! My book club just started reading Bossy Pants- have you read it? The books are piling up!

  5. Sound intriguing! Love the new header picture!

  6. Hi Ricki Jill,
    I love your love for the arts! I love that you live with art, and that you embrace all forms or art. Thanks for helping us in our pursuit of more art and culture in our lives!

  7. Ok, love your new header. Gorgeous.

    That book looks really good-I love the cover art, and I will have to add this to my list since you so highly recommend it. :)

    Have a great weekend! I'm so excited for swapoween!

  8. Sounds like a fascinating read! And I agree with Angie - your new header is beautiful!

  9. haahhaa....thanks for voting for me.:)
    Now, you KNOW I would send you a tin of cookies but THESE, with no flour, are a mite too tender and crumbles a bit, for shipping. HOWEVER, if they arrived in crumbles, what's to stop ya from putting the crumbs in a bowl, add a little milk and it would be pretty much like dunkin'....right?

  10. ooo, just saw your pretty and I LOVE those pumpkins..

  11. Wow, that sounds interesting! I bet it would make a great movie!! with all the fairy tale magic! Thank you for your kind congrats, that really means a lot to me, you always leave the most sincere comments!


  12. The book sounds great and I will have to add it to my ever ending list! Have a great weekend!

  13. Wonderful. I had it on last months book list! Great Post my bloggy friend xo

  14. Sounds interesting! Beautiful header, Ricki Jill! Hope you are having a great weekend!...hugs...Debbie

  15. You finished the book in two days, WOW! I can't do that. I look forward in your book review posts Ricki. Have a great weekend!

  16. Beautiful header photo. This book is definitely going on my reading list, which is so long now, I think I am into next year. I am not sure there are any books left in the library. Never mind what is downloaded on my kindle.

  17. Thanks for the recommendation, I'm always looking for a good read. I love the fairy tale aspect and love that I'll need a dictionary!

  18. Oh I'm glad you reviewed this! I read a review about it in Entertainment Weekly & thought I would like it, now I know I will.

  19. Sounds like a great read!!
    I am loving those blown glass gourds!

  20. Thanks for another great recommendation. I appreciate your work and advice.

  21. I am so in love with this book. If you want to read a story so descriptive that you imagine being there.. this is the book. I went out anctually bought it because i love it this much. It sucks you in! This is by far one of my favorite books. You don't have to read about sex between characters. The passion between them is enough. You get lost in this novel. I am anticipating another book like this soon.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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