The thing I loved about this book the most was the atmospheric writing. I was immediately transported to a magical place full of wonders my mind could hardly fathom. Morgenstern is so descriptive that I could see the circus so vividly, it felt like I was watching a movie. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that paints the setting so intensely.
About the last ⅓ of the book, the pace picks up quite a bit, and I wish there was more of that momentum throughout. At times, it felt like a book solely about setting, and I wanted some plot and character development. The last ⅓ of the book has it all, which saved this from being a total bust of a read for me.
I cannot wait to watch this movie. (Though it’s unclear when it will actually be released, the movie rights have been obtained.) I can’t imagine how fantastic it will be to see this book come to life!
Overall, I enjoyed this book and can see why it’s a favorite of many people. I actually think this is one of those books that gets better every time you read it. There’s a lot to grasp and knowing certain things heading in can allow you to almost feel like you’re reading a new book every time!
If you’ve read and enjoyed The Night Circus, here are a few other recommendations to try:
The Orphan’s Tale by: Pam Jenoff (Mira Books) – Pub Date: February 21, 2017
Noa and Astrid both find refuge in the circus that continues to travel across Europe while the Nazis are further advancing their agenda across the same parts of the country. The Nazis allow it because it provides a distraction from what they’re doing and allows the spectators to forget ‘real life’ for just a little while. What isn’t known is that the circus’ ringleader is knowingly hiding and protecting some Jews from the Nazis within his company. This puts all of the circus members in danger as they travel to towns that are increasingly hostile and unsafe to Jews. Both hiding secrets of their own, Noa and Astrid form a quick alliance and eventually put everything on the line for one another. It’s a beautiful friendship that is given the ultimate test. (Read my full review here.)
Caraval (Caraval, #1) by: Stephanie Garber (Flatiron) – Pub Date: January 31, 2017
When Scarlett and her sister, Donatella, head to Caraval to experience a once-a-year performance, they have no idea that they will become the center of the game. When Donatella goes missing, it’s Scarlett’s job to find her before anyone else does. She doesn’t know who she can trust and as the game moves forward, other secrets continue to bubble up to the surface. Will Scarlett find Donatella in time? (Read my full review here.)
The Immortalists by: Chloe Benjamin (Putnam) – Pub Date: January 9, 2018
When Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon visit a psychic who predicts each of their death dates, it raises the question: If you could know the date of your death, would you want to? If you’d have asked me in my younger years, I’m sure my answer would have unequivocally been, “YES!”, but as I’ve gotten older, I think I might resist the temptation. As the children find out, knowing the date of your death could quite possibly change the very way you chose to live. This book is magical in every single way – from the psychic who makes these predictions to Benjamin’s writing. I was enraptured by the whole story from the very first line. (Read my full review here.)
The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0) by: Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: October 10, 2017
In 1620, a curse is put on the Owens family that prohibits them from falling in love. Hundreds of years later, in NYC, Jet, Franny, and Vincent have been taught never to love, but after a visit to their aunt, they learn about who they are and decide to start living their own lives – regardless of the risks they’re taking. Endearing, happy, magical, lovely. I enjoyed every page of this beautiful story; something about Jet, Franny, and Vincent completely captured my heart.
Spinning Silver by: Naomi Novik (Del Rey) – Pub Date: July 10, 2018
Miryem can change silver into gold – and therein is where her problems begin. Living in near poverty because her father lends out more money than he collects, Miryem takes it upon herself to regain some of the money owed to her family. But when the cold creatures that haunt the woods hear about her magical ability, the king immediately kidnaps her and exploits her abilities. This is a loosely modern retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, and while it can feel slow and difficult to get through, the world building is descriptive and captivating. If you can see it to the end, I think it pays off – just know it’s probably the most difficult read on this list.
Harry Potter Series Box Set (Books #1-7) by: J.K. Rowling (Bloomsbury UK) – First book pub date: June 26, 1997
I’m not sure you can talk about magical books without mentioning the infamous Harry Potter series! Full of good and evil, spell casting, and strong friendships, the magical Hogwarts world is for children and adults alike! Honestly, the more I read the series, the more I like them. Knowing the full story allows you to pick up on small clues dropped throughout the books by the masterful Rowling. Also, there’s a podcast called Harry Potter and the Sacred Text where they discuss every single chapter of this series in depth. So, knowing that it’s going to take me quite awhile to get through, this is going to be my next adventure with this series. I’m going to alternate listening to one chapter and then the corresponding podcast episode. If you’re interested in joining, let me know!
What other magical/fantasy books have I missed on this list?