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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern The Night Circus is another one of those books where I start out thinking, "Oh, I'm so going to love this," and then midway through, my thoughts go to, "Uh, did I remember to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer?" and then toward the latter part, "Wow!-*flipping through remaining book*--Does this ever end?"

No, it's not a bad book. The descriptive passages are lovely. The basic premise is interesting.

But--big hairy but--there's an awful lot of book, far more than my fractured attention span could handle. Long books aren't a problem, provided something actually happens; provided there's a clear sense of urgency and tension, ideally a focus on a few protagonists.

The Night Circus is told from multiple point of views, including the two main characters--Celia and Marco--two young magicians who are conscripted into a kind of duel between their two mentors, also magicians. It's kind of Romeo and Juliet meets The Prestige. But without much romance. Or action. Or Hugh Jackman. (Sigh, Hugh Jackman.) In addition to Marco and Celia, there are several other characters, most of whom, frankly, aren't terribly interesting. Everyone is bound, magically, into the care and feeding of the titular Night Circus, so much so that they don't age. This being part of the spell cooked up by Marco, his move in the game. He and Celia compete largely by coming up with new attractions for the circus. Eventually, they fall in love and resent the fact that in order to win the competition, one of them must die.

Again, as I write that brief description, it sounds compelling. It may well be for a reader with an attention span, who loves atmosphere and vivid description over actual plot.

But, as I write this about a week after finishing, I find the details, what few stuck in my mind, already disappearing, just as quickly as The Night Circus moves from one venue to another.

Uh, pleasant, but not memorable.