Book Review – The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus51nLN7yvmnL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fantasy, fiction, romance, magic

Pages: 512

First Published: September 2011

Series: standalone

Rating:  star_rating_4_of_5

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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 Rêves, 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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

line_breakMy Review:

Another really, awesome book!! At the moment, I’m just reading good book after good book, so there’s not going to be any bad reviews for a while. Which is good! Who doesn’t love a great read? Let’s get on with why The Night Circus is a great book…

The best thing about The Night Circus is the incredible world the author has created – as well as the characters she’s added into it. There is SO MUCH world building that has gone into creating it, and because of it, it makes the whole story feel less cheap, and more real, or 3D. And it’s not just the setting either! The plot line, atmosphere, and down to the smallest events that occur, are all sorted perfectly to create the book. That’s what makes the complication, and then resolution, so perfect. It’s like Morgenstern has the whole thing mapped out in her head, so when she needs to chop and change between past, present and future, it’s all already there.

The Night Circus does include many POVs, some in the same time period, while others are flashbacks, or are in the future. Now this feature could have made the book really messy, and hard to follow, but because it was so well planned out, it actually made sense. (There were parts that were a little unclear, but they soon made sense if you kept reading) The further into the book I went, more bits kept jumping out at me, and then clicked into place, until right at the end with the climax, and it all came together.

Okay, okay, I need to stop talking about planning. What about the characters? Celia and Marco were perfect I think, and each of the background characters had their perks. I think the only let-down would be too many. Between having plot-lines in the past, present and future, there were quite a number of people involved in this story. This is what made it a bit hard to follow at times.

Another perk; strong female characters! Yay! I love books that include them, and The Night Circus doesn’t just have one main, but also all the female side characters are strong and can make their own decisions. I really just love reading from their point of view, or about them.

“Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

Okay, to sum up. The story takes a while to get into the ‘real’ plot-line, but once it does, it is impossible to put down. As I was reading it, I kept noticing the symmetry between it, and The Prestige movie. Both have two magicians, duelling over many, many years, while still trying to live their lives as normal as possible. (And, at the back of my copy of The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern actually says one of her inspirations for the book was The Prestige, so there you go.) I found the story really interesting, and fun to read about. Similar setting to Caraval if you liked that.

 “We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

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Book Review – Flame in the Mist

Title:  Flame in the Mist23308087.jpg

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Genre: Fantasy, YA, romance, historical, retelling, fiction

Pages: 393

First Published: May 2017

Series: Flame in the Mist #1

Rating: star_rating_4_of_5

line_break.pngThe only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

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My Review:

I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t no Strange the Dreamer or The Book Thief  but, it was good. Very good. I enjoyed reading it immensely, and think most people would as well.

For me, I wasn’t into it in the beginning. I was actually almost about to put it down and just give up, when something finally happened, and I was drawn back in. So, after my initial doubts, I kept getting surprised, and found myself running back to it, and staying up to finish ‘one more chapter’. These are usually the signs of a good book for me, and so while I wasn’t sure at first, I think I’ve got to give it 4 stars.

Somehow, after reading reviews and the blurb, I still didn’t realise it was a Mulan retelling, set in the wonderful world of feudal Japan. (In case you didn’t know either, there you go 🙂 ) And it was wonderful. I didn’t realise how much I enjoy books set in foreign countries. Usually its the US, England, or home-sweet-home Australia, and I really liked the change of scenery. It was just different. So many little references that add to the story-building, and atmosphere, that I usually miss because they’re common place in English-speaking countries. So that was one reason.

Also because it’s got action, fighting, magic, badass females, multiple storylines and a 3D plot. You know, all of those reasons. It just had everything. (Well. Mostly. I’ll talk about that later) What lifted it up from average to better, is definitely its many parts. If it was contained to just the one plot line, with the one main group of characters, then I really could only have given it 3 stars. But, it featured the main group, it had two families connected to that, the royals, and then people related to the Royals, and they all interrelated! That is what made it so much better. There were so many little links and possibilities spiralling off in my head while I was reading, and at the end, most of them came together, leaving me wanting the next book immediately. It was written really well.

Saying all this, you might be wondering how it’s not 5 stars. It’s actually kind of confusing me as well. But most of this review applies only for most of the book. The first couple of chapters, where I was a bit iffy, was not written well. It annoyed me, almost to the point of putting down the book, (lucky I kept going, because it got a lot better), because there was nothing interesting happening. Yes, there was an execution. Who was everyone? I had no connection with any of the characters, so it didn’t do anything for me. Next thing: change in character. She gets ambushed and is the only survivor, what a surprise. (don’t worry it’s not a spoiler, I wouldn’t do that to you. It says it on the blurb) She continues into a dark, mysterious forest, and thinks someone’s following her. It’s just all so ordinary. Only when she meets the next group of characters, there’s a spark, and it gets better from there.

So, aside from boring, heard-it-all-before beginning, great book! Would definitely recommend, and my advice: Don’t give up on it!!

Happy Reading!

Book Review – Strange The Dreamer

Quick Facts!new-release-date-2.jpg

Title: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Genre: Fantasy, fiction, romance, magic, YA

Pages: 544

First Published: March 2017


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My Review:

I don’t believe I can fault this book. It was that good. Seriously, it blew my mind, how I could not find a single thing wrong with it. Usually, I am quite harsh with my reviews, but this book… It was so good. Great. Amazing. Spectacular! And the cover is gorgeous as well.

So. We have two main characters; Lazlo and Sarai, though there are many others that are just as good. The book is told through both their perspectives, and I loved the way they mirrored each other. There was never a time when I wanted to skip this chapter, and just move back to the other one’s POV. No. They told the exact amount that was needed to be able to finish the chapter. So that was good.

Another biggie: Characters and world building. Oh they were amazing! Taylor wrote the characters so perfectly, that each of their feelings and emotions and actions felt justified and done with good reason. She shows us enough bask-story, that one little action taken by this one little character, elicits sympathy for them, while another action taken by another character makes us hate them. They didn’t seem real, but to be fair, some of them were blue-skinned goddesses living in the sky. You’d have to be a terrific author to make that seem real. There was no over-doing it, and no under-doing it. It was just perfect. That was the other thing. You know how in some books, there’s just too much description, and not enough action (or vice versa)? And while the description is good, great even, it just needs more? Strange the Dreamer was not like that at all. World building was awesome, and there was a plot. Characters looked good, but also had feelings. It was just so well balanced!

Okay. Time for the big reason. Storyline. I don’t know where this idea came from, and have no idea how it could occur to any normal person, but the plot was amazing. And original for once! It’s quite rare that you read a story and have never read anything like it before. It was such a good idea. The many aspects occurring all at once made it seem much more 3D, and the ending… it killed me, but it was right at the same time. And of course made me want the next book RIGHT NOW. Please. I need it. I wasn’t sure how it was going to end, and was re-assuring myself that it couldn’t be too bad because there was a second book, when BAM! Ending. In my face. The last chapter was written so well and cleverly that it concluded the book, opened up a path for the next one, and again drove home the defining features of all the characters. (One in particular I now hate even more 😦 )

If I had to find one teensy-weensy little problem, I would say that it took a little while to get into the story. I wasn’t addicted to it at first, as much as I was at the end. But that doesn’t really matter. All books are like that. Another thing I really really like are the titles, both Book 1, and Book 2. The two main characters Lazlo and Sarai, will hopefully continue into the second book, and so the titles are mirroring them. Strange the Dreamer, is Lazlo’s other name, and the second book, titled Muse of Nightmares, is Sarai’s nickname. I don’t know why, I just find that really nice. Just the contrast between the two, dreamer, and nightmares. Again, the two characters are mirroring each other.

“It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.”
Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer


June Wrap Up

Half way through the year everybody!! Hope it’s been good so far. I believe June has been one of my best months for books and reading this year. What about you? The start of holidays meant I had more spare time, though I was away for a week. That didn’t stop me from reading though! The Lifeline Bookfest was also on, meaning lots of books were bought, but we only just managed to fit them all on the bookshelves. Running out of space quickly…
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Well, without any further ado, let’s get onto the wrap-up:

Hmmmm, let’s see… I read a grand total of 7 books last month. Aaaaaaand, I reviewed none of them. As you can see, I have been very productive. Over the next week, I should get some done though, and finally catch up.

Books Read:

  • Talon (Julie Kagawa)
  • Beautiful Broken Things (Sara Barnard)
  • The Witch’s Daughter (Paula Brackston)
  • The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
  • Remind Me How This Ends (Gabrielle Tozer)
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J Maas)
  • A Court of Mist and Fury (Sarah J Maas)

I just realised that I read none of my own books… they’re all either from the school or local library. I think that borrowing books, and therefore having a time-limit on when to read them, makes me read a bit quicker.


Well, after two trips to the library, a second hand bookstore, online shopping, and the bookfest, I have another large Haul for June. I won’t go into detail about all of them, but some of my favourites that I’ve been looking for, for ages, are:

  • Red Queen (Victoria Aveyard)
  • Angelfall (Susan Ee)
  • World After (Susan Ee)
  • After You (Jojo Moyes)
  • Go Set a Watchmen (Harper Lee)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)
  • Talon (Julie Kagawa)
  • The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
  • The Girl with all the Gifts (Mike Carey)
  • Hogwarts Library Boxset
  • The Farseer Trilogy (Robin Hobb)
  • Fool’s Errand (Robin Hobb)

So there we go. I’ve already been back to the library in July, and borrowed a couple more so my TBR list this month consists of:

  • Lord of Shadows (Finally!)
  • Strange the Dreamer
  • Rebel of the Sands
  • Flame in the Mist
  • The Wrath and the Dawn
  • and any other books that I find along the way!

See any of your favourites listed here? Or tell me what you’re planning on reading this July? I also love hearing what other people have to say about books, so don’t hesitate to comment and converse!