I will start by acknowledging that this book is universally loved. I haven’t met a single person who didn’t enjoy it… and I do not understand why.
I don’t usually review DNF’s, because I don’t think it’s fair to voice an opinion on a title I didn’t actually read. I’m going to this time because I couldn’t finish. Y’all, I have tried four times to read this book and it’s just… dull. The imagery is beautiful and so clearly depicted, that it reminded me of Steinbeck. Even in Canary Row, though, Steinbeck managed to grasp my attention through his detailed characters. That’s exactly what this book felt like, too: a Steinbeck-level writing exercise. Despite the setting of a magical circus, though, Morgenstern fails to elicit an ounce of feeling for any of her seemingly eighty-seven characters. Coupled with the lack of any engaging plot, it just became a chore to read these random artistic journal entries.
I give the author credit for an original storyline. It was compelling and had such promise… until the other eighty-five characters showed up, all equally as flat as the main two and nothing happened. Reading this book was such an effort, that I finally gave up at 42%. If you love imagery just that much, this is the book for you. If you’re excited by the prospect of a magical circus death match, as suggested by the blurb… well, I don’t think that one’s been written yet. If it has, this ain’t it.
Review Word Count: 249