3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
a horror story disguised as a children's book,
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This review is from: The Night Circus (Audio CD)this is the 11 CD unabridged version produced by Random House Audio and read by Jim Dale, I have debated whether to give this book 1 star or 3 stars, the result between giving it 5 stars for the audio production and 1 star for the book itself.
I don't think I need to comment on the audio production as it is perfect and Jim Dale is excellence in what he does, he really brings the book to life giving interpretation and life to every single character.
before proceeding I apologize for not being sure of the spelling, this is after all an audio book and names are not spelled and I will also refer to the author as 'he' even though I don't know if the author is male or female which is not relevant to my review.
at the beginning the book seems to be perfect, a classic in children's literature, I would praise the author for the narrative style as it starts introducing the circus from 3 different perspectives, such style was ingenious I thought as I never read any other author coming up with such ideas: 1 perspective was from a third person (impersonal spectator), the second perspective was from the reader's point of view, he addresses the reader using 'you' and then he moves to describe the inside perspective. he continues like this at the beginning and I was at first enthusiastic about it, then unfortunately he abandones this style entirely to describe solely the lives of the people inside the circus only to return to addressing the reader as 'you' at the very end of the book
. the author does a great job at times in being evocative in describing smells colours and whatever magic is being performed.
however there are inconsistancies and discrepancies in the timing: for example when Bailey meets the red headed girl - we understand the girl is one of the twins whose birth is described later in the book. this is done deliberately although I don't know at what purpose, to me the book does not follow a chronological order and is at times confusing and inconsistant.
he jumps a lot, for example from 1894 to 1902 then back to 1894 and unfortunatly he continues like this throughout the book while in my opinion he could have followed a clear pattern like describing events in order not at random spread out in the book without sense at all. I give a basic example: he could have described the birth of the twins, then the encounter with Bailey and then he could have put together the events of 1902 dedicating an entire section or part - in this book there are no chapters but 5 parts instead of scattering them all without order, a little bit of 1902 then we come back to whatever time we left before, then again we come back to 1902 then again it goes back and the book continues like this throughout until of course events reach the same year.
if in 1886 Cilia is 17 or 18 in 1902 she must be in her 30s, yet we are given the impression she stays 18 or 19
in 1902 Marco should have done more than 10 years working for the circus owner instead we are told it's still a couple of years he has been working for him, the circus owner
by CD 6 it begins to turn into a horror movie starting with the death of one of the Burges sisters one of the people who helped to create the circus just because she is distracted by one of the magicians and looks at him arguing with someone else, it reminds me of a scene I once saw in a horror movie although I do not remember the title: a girl is crossing the road and is distracted by a clown mask in a shop window. As the mask brings nothing good she does not see the car and is run over dying instantly.
in CD 7 Marco has the encounter with his instructor which is inconclusive and by the end of the same CD we find the conforntation between Marco and his employer which of course ends with the easy way out for Marco who removes the memory from his employer both of these incidents are more suitable in my opinion as horror or ghost stories.
the word pretentious comes to mind, I am not even sure what it is, is it a children's book or one of those pointless books which cannot be categorized?
I resisted the temptation to leave it all I was not even curious of the end, but I forced myself to listen to the remaining CDs only for the sake of writing a review about it.
magic and illusions are very well as far as they do not vilate other people's freedom and will not the way it is manipulated in the book, even in children's book as perhaps this books wishes to be considered.
the love story between Cilia and Marco is pathethic at times and entirely pointless what is the purpose of it? the game itself is pointless in itself - the way I see it nobody wins nobody loses, the both of them stay together not being entirely physical and not being entirely spiritual, they sort of live being imprisoned in that circus and the new owner Bailey Clarke seems to live forever as the book stretches from 1902 the time when he becomes the new owner to the present age.
it's not that one is necessarily looking for a moral in a story especially when it's supposed to be a children's book, but from any angle you look at it it is pointless unless the author symbolizes something with events and people, if he wanted to show love always wins which does he could have chosen a better more flexible story to tell and put his point across unless he is saying that both life and love are pointless.
if you want great children's books read the classics like Peter Pan or Alice in wonderland or a more recent one like the Emerald Atlas by John Stephens instead, truly magical, it's in my opinion much better, and less pretentious - does not have a love story in the sense it's not about forbidden love story between 2 lovers but the love is actually more profound here, nobody dies rather it is magic and full of suspence. By the way Random House Audio has a version of this book it is read by Jim Dale too, priceless.
in conclusion I summarize the book with the title of my review:
this is a horror story disguised as a children's book.
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Initial post: 20 Dec 2011 20:16:46 GMT
Leah Graham says:
In what way is this novel a children's story? At what point does it state anywhere that this novel is for children? Because it's not. This is an adult's book. It is in no way disguised as anything, and it is what it is. I think you have been misled somehow, but I assure you and many others will indeed confirm this is a book that was written for adults.
Also, I don't think you actually got the book, since you question why Celia stays the same age. All of that is dealt with in the novel. We learn why the magicians don't seem to age, we learn all about how the circus is the way it is. There's a reason (a very good one) that the novel doesn't take place in a more linear fashion. There's a reason we jump from year to year, from Celia and co. at the circus, to Bailey in Boston.
Erin Morgenstern is a she, and I feel that if you're going to discuss what she wrote then it is pertinent to your review you get her sex right rather than saying "he this", "he that", because it seems disrespectful actually that you couldn't take a moment to just double check. I also feel it's wrong that you have spoiled the book for anybody who reads your review, as you have given away the ending, rather unnecessarily, I feel.
I myself loved this novel and didn't find any of it was fitting to a horror story. The way you describe the incidents does sound a bit over the top, but you've rather taken them out of context (and seemingly not understood why they occurred).
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