Night Circus: Lovely mise-en-scene, less than magical characters

My friend Sitting Pugs and I were discussing our views of Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus.  While we had somewhat differing opinions of the novel overall, we agreed that it left us both wanting more.

I stumbled across an anime cover art depiction which I found quite lovely and yes, I think the imagery would contribute to quite a good anime production, for example with the revered Miyazaki at the helm.


Ilume At Eight:

I finished that novel Night Circus.  It started bad, got marginally better at page 300, and then ended bad.  Beautiful descriptions, empty characters.  The author gives you just enough of a glimpse into making them interesting, but then stops and doesn’t flesh them out – it’s like it never left her head so an outside reader can’t fill the gaps.  I wish I had a more discerning way to pick fiction.  I read a book review that I found interesting:

Sitting Pugs:

I really liked Night Circus … but the end left me wanting more.  You are right about the empty characters part.  I think the premise could be adapted into a TV mini-series BBC/Masterpiece Theatre style and it would probably be more satisfying.

Ilume At Eight:

I agree that it could work better in the hands of talented actors.  A Merchant Ivory style treatment, even could work.

There should have been more clarification about the rules of the game, and more details about the styles and limitations of the types of magic employed by both of the characters.  The historical and geographical settings were a bit shifty too – it could have been set in present times and not made that much difference. I liked the big reveal about Tsukiko at the end – I enjoyed that she was kept mysterious.  Marco’s treatment of Isobel and rush to bind Bailey to the circus just made me not care for him at all.  The weaving in of the Merlin/sorceress story was clunky and made little sense.

I also wanted to know more about the motivations of Celia’s father and his competitor – why on earth did they come up with the game concept in the first place?

Sitting Pugs:

I agree with your comments on the book.  Even if I could just accept that Celia’s father and Marco’s mentor had this competition as a brute fact, I’d want to know more about the significance of it.  And, Celia’s mother? what about her?


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