Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Night Circus

Book:  The Night Circus
Author:  Erin Morgenstern (no relation to S. Morgenster, I think)
Like/Don't Like:  I didn't dislike it.  So yes.  Like.

What I'm about to say may make it sound as if I didn't enjoy this book.  It's just that I've been particularly sensitive to bad writing lately.  I get annoyed with authors very early on and then give up on a book in a huff.  I don't know what my issue is.  It's not always the case, but I would say for the last 6 months or so I've have low tolerance for lazy writing.  So, to say that this book didn't annoy me is high praise.  In fact, I found it kind of diverting.  It is certainly not highly entertaining or particularly magical (both things I think it would like to be) but on the whole it was an enjoyable enough read.

The story is centered around two magicians who have been brought up to out-magic each other in a competition.  The arena for this competition is a circus that magically appears in cities around the world.  They each create tents of wonder and illusion and try to one-up each other.  But their competition affects more than just themselves and their teachers/magical mentors, it affects everyone who is involved with the circus.

Or, so I'm told.  Because the book's biggest flaw is that it doesn't tell the why very well.  Why the magic they were using affected everyone, or why the circus would fall apart if the two of them stopped.  A lot of the whys could have been answered if the author has stopped worrying about describing the magical tents (so much so that she started to repeat herself) and focus more on the characters and plot.

But, in spite of that, the story was interesting enough and the world that was created was beautiful formed.  And while I could have used more explanation and less adjectives describing the scent of mulled cider in the air I wasn't that bad.