Why I was bored reading The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus’ story boils down to impossible love between two young people raised to fight each other. They are competing by showing off their magical skills to each other and to the rest of world by building an enchanted circus that tours the world in a Victorian era.

Magic, love, Victorian era: what’s not to love? After reading overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon I downloaded the Kindle version and took aaages to finish this book. Like at least 3 weeks. This is never a good sign (as an upside I was falling asleep extremely quickly).

“OMG we love each other but we can’t be together”

Firstly I felt a little too quickly that I had read this plot many times in different stories. This is such a strong teen fantasy and so many best sellers have been based on the identical storyline these past few years. Impossible love between a human and a vampire. Impossible love between two contestants of a death game. Impossible love between a native Indian and an English explorer (my favourite Disney!). Impossible love between a human and a blue alien. Impossible love between two Italian nobles from different families (well that one was probably a little older…). Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think having a completely original plot is a pre-condition for a good book but it seems a little too much in l’air du temps.

“We need to stop fight other but we can’t… What can we do? Oh my Romeo!”

After the storyline my second grievance is against the two protagonists. They. Are. Just. So. Boring. I did not feel at any point attached, sad, entranced, or any other kind of emotions towards those two people. They were just empty until quite late in the story when they are suddenly discovering they love each other (as the reader of course it’s understood immediately). And past this point they became a little too lovey-dovey for my liking. They just seem to have no willpower or anything interesting to say. I like to have brilliant, crazy, cruel or just quirky characters in my books. These two are magicians but seemed just so plain vanilla. Sorry. I can’t even remember their names. Other characters were more interesting. Her father, his card-reader lover, the clockmaker, the previous challenger. They had stories to tell and had much more depth.

Easily annoyed?

And the ending… Really? I don’t want to spoil the book for you but I was mentally face-palming myself thinking “oh dear… embarrassing” at something that cheesy. Maybe at the end of the day I was not the target audience for the book. Again I had the feeling it is the story I might have wanted to read when I was 13. Many gimmicks annoyed me throughout the book including the use of French (why? because I’m French maybe. Ha.)

But the circus is pretty!

OK, so that’s for the story and characters. Now and because I don’t think everything was bad and to finish on a positive note: the circus was cool. It was great picturing and imagining the decors and the environment of the circus and I think this book would make an ok-movie only because of the visuals and descriptions of the different tents. It could also be a cool circus to wander in.

Verdict

It would have been a better painting/short movie than a book. Or maybe a nice interactive website to explore. Story and characters were blah but settings have a lot of potential. I would pay for my ticket to le Cirque des Rêves… however not reading the book again.