Let’s Talk… The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Is it a cop out to make a Let’s Talk about a book? I wanted to talk about this book since I read the Caraval trilogy yesterday (you should totally click on that link!). Almost all of the reviews on Goodreads for Caraval were about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and their extremely similar themes. I wanted to see how similar they are, so I got myself a copy of The Night Circus, and here’s what I have found out:

First: a synopsis. The Night Circus is the story of a game. When Celia and Marco are young, her father and his mentor, respectively, bind them together for life. They are required to showcase their talents in magic until eventually their magic outweighs the other. The playing field, a circus that is only open at night. Eventually, Celia and Marco fall in love, causing them to lose interest in playing the game. Other members of the circus who know about the game begin to push for the game to be finished, causing mayhem within the circus. Now, Marco and Celia must figure out how to fix everything without taking everyone out in the process.

  1. Caraval is easier to read. The Night Circus jumps around in time which makes it difficult to keep up with what is happening within the story. There is also almost 10 characters that we follow around throughout the story, which is difficult to keep up with as well. Caraval stays consistently in time with one character. Along with that, The Night Circus is difficult to read because the language fits the late 1800s/ early 1900s time period of the setting. There is no exact date associated with Caraval, but they tend to speak modern while the characters are in un-technological society.
  2. The idea of a “night circus” is different for the two stories. You ever hear about creative writing classes where they start with the same sentence, but everyone makes their own story? It feels a lot like that. Caraval’s night circus is really a game, which only lasts for a select number of days. They do not look like a normal circus, but rather an area that you have to explore in order to solve a problem. The Night Circus is about a “real” traveling circus, so there are tents, acts, etc. that consistently lasts for decades.
  3. The love stories are completely different. Caraval, the love story is a gradual progression of not liking to now I love you. In The Night Circus, the binding connects them from a young age, so they feel that level of connection from the moment they meet.

Obviously, the idea of a “night circus” is a connection in itself, but I think the two authors took their own spins on it. They are too different stylistically for me to see the connections people have discussed on Goodreads (or to pick sides). Neither story would be a book that I would normally pick up for myself, so I might not have the greatest opinion on this. At the end of the day, I recommend Caraval for someone who wants a young adult book with a magical adventure. The Night Circus is a more adult book that has a much heavier influence of magic and less of the adventure.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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