The Night Circus

It's October and that means rereading The Night Circus, of course! You'd think that I would get tired of this book but that's not the case at all. I still love it as much as I did the first time I read it. Erin Morgenstern has created a novel that makes every part of my soul sing.

This is the story about a magical place where people come to escape and explore. The black and white circus pops up at random all over the world and offers sights and experiences more fit in dreams than anywhere else. The circus is loved by many, but few knows of its origins. That it was created, not for people to enjoy, but as a venue for a challenge with very obscure rules. For years, two people play a game inside the circus, without anyone really noticing. Dreams become reality and reality turn into dreams while the circus keeps traveling and the game goes on.

I could sit here and praise this wonderful novel all night long, but I think that time is better spent reading the novel. I will say this: The Night Circus is no ordinary book and you will not be the same after reading it. It is enchanting, it is magical and it is, first and foremost, a really, really good story. Morgenstern is a master at writing, a master at creating wonderful characters and a master at building the world which contains the circus. I had come about fifty pages into the story when I was already longing for next year when I will read it again.

What really got me when reading it this time around wasn’t merely the story, but the characters as well. I focused more on them then the circus and the game and was able to see things I've not noticed before. Seeing the characters evolve and grow, seeing the subtle details and clues Morgenstern leaves all over the pages, seeing the small things in the big picture was really interesting. I found myself understanding characters I’ve had a problem with before and questioning characters that I’ve liked earlier. Reading it once a year, year after year really makes me see how much I evolve as well, which was a head-spinning but cool experience. For every time I read it I feel like I understand it better, I see it clearer, I feel more connected to it. This is certainly not an ordinary novel.

The Night Circus is magnificent in every way and it remains one of my all-time favorite novels. Few things are better than The Night Circus and I can’t wait to pick it up again. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?


Due to many things it has taken me a long time to reread Alexandra Bracken's Passenger but now I'm finally done.  I've read this novel once before and a bit over a year has passed since. What I like about rereading novels, besides coming back to beloved worlds and meeting characters that you like, is to see how my opinion of a novel changes as I grow. I remembered that I liked this novel very much but reading it again made me see it in a slightly different light.

The book has two main characters, Etta and Nicholas. Etta is seventeen and living in New York in 2015. She has no idea that she can travel in time and works hard to establish her career as a violin player. Nicholas lives in the eighteen century and works on ships but is connected to the very powerful time travel family, the Ironwoods. Etta and Nicholas crosses paths when Etta is kidnapped to the seventeenth century and Nicholas is in charge of bringing her safely to her destination. After being taken from her own time, Etta must travel across centuries along with Nicholas to find a lost item to save her family and herself. But delivering this item to the person who seeks it will change the course of time and alter everything Etta has ever known. Etta needs to decide what to do with the item if she finds it but she is not the only one looking for it.

When I read this novel the first time I remember liking Bracken’s writing style, the worldbuilding and how alive it seemed, all the action, serious topics and laughs as well as the interesting relationship between Etta and Nicholas and the problems that arose since he was dark and she was white. All of this is still true; it’s a good novel with a lot of interesting sub-plots and topics. The story between Etta and Nicholas, all the problems they face along the way because of his skin, is also interesting and it’s nice to see it all put in such a big perspective. Nicholas accepts that people treat him badly because of his skin colour but Etta and her modern way of seeing things shows him that things will change.

However, one thing that bugged me the first time around was even more problematic now and that is the insta-love. I dislike this but it happens in so many novels. It’s difficult to accept and hard to not let it ruin a novel because it makes everything feel less real. Etta is put on an eight-day deadline to find the item and while she has spent some time with Nicholas before that it’s not very much. After they embark on their journey the love between them grows. Etta makes plans for how they can keep being together in the future and they continue to profess their love for one another. It didn’t feel real at all since they hadn’t known each other for real for just about a week. I had trouble accepting how fast things moved between them and it made the read a little less pleasant. They move across many different places in time and are constantly put under pressure and danger so it’s hard to see how they had time to fall for each other when they barely survived the places they visit. I would’ve bought it if it had been a reaction from shock but I know it’s not and that’s what makes it hard to swallow.

Another thing that bothered me was something smaller but still annoying. After spending multiple days in awful conditions, often running and getting dirty and without a chance to bathe, Nicholas still thinks Etta smells like flowers when she should clearly be smelling like… something less nice. Etta, in turn, thinks Nicholas smells like the sea despite not having been on one for over a week. It’s such a small thing but it made the novel more like fiction than reality and when I read I want to story to be so real it feels like it’s happening, not just a fantasy that plays out in my mind.

Despite these two things the novel is very good. It’s funny and interesting and, like I said, takes up more than one difficult topic. Unlike most time traveling stories, were the characters end up on historic places everyone knows, Etta and Nicholas saw very different sights. It was a more diverse in that way and it was educating for me as well. I will pick up the sequel soon and I can’t wait to see what new places await in Wayfarer!