Book Reviews

The Night Circus: Thoughts on “Incendiary” and “Divination” (Part 4 and 5)

the night circus
(Via Goodreads)

The Night Circus (2011)

By Erin Morgenstern

I finished reading this book. It took me a while, but it is finally done. Now I can finally write my last post about it. This post may contain spoilers about the ending, so if you don’t want to know what happens don’t read this post. However, I’ll keep this post as short as possible to prevent any important details from coming out.

What does the section title, “Incendiary” refer to?

First of all, “incendiary” means something that causes a fire. Let’s recall the bonfire that was ignited in section two of the story. That bonfire is the heart of the circus that keeps everything together, and it is metaphorically the heart of Marco, which keeps him connected with what is going on in the circus. I’m not going to tell you any more about it except that something happens to it.

Connections

So the main storyline of Marco and Celia and the subplot of Bailey intertwined together. However, I felt like the intertwining was more forceful as oppose to coming naturally. Also, some of the other characters are left open-ended at the conclusion of the story. When Marco and Celia desired to break away from the challenge, Mr. A.H. and Prospero didn’t do much to stop them. I always thought they would do something that will force the two to stay in the challenge, but they didn’t. I considered them to be the main antagonists, but by the ending, it didn’t seem so. In fact, at the end, we don’t get much about their feelings towards what happen between Celia, Marco and the circus. By not having a solid ending for these characters, I felt that the novel is somewhat incomplete because Mr. A.H. and Prospero played a major role in developing the plot.

Tsukiko’s Views on Love

I enjoy reading about Tsukiko’s perspective on love, which reminds me of what I learned about love in Japanese literature while in college. Tsukiko considers love to be “fickle and fleeting.” It doesn’t last forever as she once experienced when she lost her partner in the challenge.

It is also interesting to note that Marco and Celia have a red string bonding them together. Their red string is the scar on their ring fingers and the circus itself. From various readings I encountered, I always find it romantic when two lovers exchange love letters or poetry. Distance would separate the two lovers, but it increases their longing for one another. In this case, their creations for the circus are their love letters to each other, which I think is pretty romantic.

Final Thoughts

I would give the book a 3/5. I feel like it could be better, but the lack of strong structure made me confused about the plot during certain points. I also wasn’t satisfied with the character development of some characters. Overall, I was left with some open-ended questions about the characters, storyline, and structure. However, the vivid descriptions of what happens in the circus and the circus’ setting were incredible. It was very visual and mesmerizing. Would I recommend this book to read? If you like visually enhancing settings, then yes. Yet if you like stories that are plot or character driven, I wouldn’t recommend it.

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4 comments

  1. Yupyupyup. I bought the book for two reasons: it takes place in a time period I was interested in and because I was hoping for some nice character development. The book left me wanting more in terms of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy that era as well, but this one just falls short.

      I feel like they should have balanced the visual appeal with the story/character development, but it felt like the setting descriptions took a majority of the book.

      Like

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