Review | The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern book coverThis book contains many scenes which deserve a 5-star rating. However, as a whole, I give The Night Circus 4/5 stars for having a weak fourth act and not being reader-friendly.

(For those who want to know more before they read, the blurb is at the bottom of this review)

I can understand the fuss. The descriptions in The Night Circus are fantastic. I haven’t read a book in a while that displays this level of skill, imagination and originality in conjuring (ha! see what I did there?) a place and its atmosphere.

The idea of the circus and the magic behind it is ingenious and many of the characters are truly intriguing.

But this book doesn’t do its readers any favours. It jumps back and forth in time and place almost every chapter. I read the book in three long sittings and still got lost. I felt I needed to draw myself a timeline so I could figure out how old everyone should be and what had happened and what was going to happen. If you were reading this book in short bursts I imagine you would get exasperated quite quickly.

In its fourth act the book seems to tail off. The conclusion is ok but feels somewhat flat when we suffering readers deserve something spectacular for having kept up with all the time hopping. And then there is a final scene to do with storytelling that makes a stab at being “meta” and “wink-wink, readers, I know you’re there” which made me cringe.

Overall: The Night Circus is worth reading for the experience of the circus, brought to life so effectively by Morgenstern’s jaw-dropping descriptive talents. Just don’t expect a relaxing read or an explosive conclusion.

P.S. My review is solely about the story, but I would like to mention what a beautiful object the hardback edition of this book is. The illustrators and designers should be proud.

The blurb:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Review | Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go bNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro book coverA haunting tale told by a mesmeric voice. A thought-provoking rather than an enjoyable read which it would be better to come to knowing nothing about.

What it’s about: I seem to be saying this a lot lately… but I honestly think your experience of this book will be improved if you come to it with no idea what it’s about. If you do want to read the blurb, I’ve put it down at the end of this review. I will say that, in my opinion, this is not a science fiction or dystopian novel, whatever you might hear or however you see it classified.

My take: I would give this book 4/5 stars rather than 5. The writing is excellent, the characters are interesting and you find yourself thinking about the issues it explores long after you finish reading. I can see why so many book clubs choose this!

Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of the review!

Are you on Bloglovin’ and/or Goodreads?

I just signed up to both Bloglovin’ and Goodreads. I hope they’ll help me find more great blogs, books and the people behind them!

Bloglovin' logoGoodreads book shelf logo

I’m still finding my way round both sites and am slightly concerned about getting lost.

If you’re on Bloglovin’, could you please follow my blog there too 🙂

And if you’re on Goodreads, can we be friends there?

Thank you. If you have any tips on using either of these sites, please leave them in the comments below. I have a lot to learn and would appreciate your hints and tips.

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Review | The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

The Death Cure by James Dashner book coverA series of chaotic incidents rather than a strong conclusion. A disappointing end to a promising series.

What it’s about:

They’ve escaped the Maze and made it across the Scorch. Now will the survivors get their memories back and help WICKED save mankind from a lethal pandemic?

If you’d like some more background, read my reviews of The Maze Runner (Book 1) and The Scorch Trials (Book 2).

Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of the review!

Review | The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

Lots of action, familiar characters and a strong narrative arc make The Scorch Trials another quick, entertaining read.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner book coverSPOILER ALERT! As this is the second book in the series, it’s pretty hard to talk about it with spoiling the first book for anyone who hasn’t read it. Proceed with caution!

You can also read my review of The Maze Runner here.

What it’s about:

The maze in Book 1 was just the start. The survivors are now thrown into trial 2: a 100-mile trek across a post-apocalytic, sun-baked wasteland with all sort of nasties between them and a supposed “safe haven”. And all in the name of helping to produce a cure for a disease which threatens to wipe out mankind. Who will make it? And who the heck are WICKED, the organization behind the trials?

My take:

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What’s your bibliotherapy? Share the books that make you happy…

Peanuts Schulz cartoon Happiness is having your own library card

I recently read an interesting article in The New Yorker which asked whether reading books can make us happier.

Wait! There’s more. Click to find out about bibliotherapy and share yours!

WWW Wednesday 3 June 2015


This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

Wait! There’s more. Click to find out what I’ve been reading!

WWW Wednesday 27-05-15


This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

Wait! There’s more. Click to find out what I’ve been reading!

Review | Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures Tracy Chevalier book coverAnother captivating story of a woman pushed to the fringes of history.

Covering events which occurred in the early nineteenth century, Remarkable Creatures tells the story of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, two fossil hunters in Lyme Regis.

Wait! There’s more. Click to read the rest of the review!