Finally Finished: I Doubt I’ll Pick Up This Heather’s Pick Again

If you recall a post from a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was struggling getting through one particular book on my reading list. The book in question falls into the category “A Heather’s Pick” from the Indigo 2021 reading list I’ve been using for inspiration. It’s one I’ve had on my shelf for years, and I have always looked forward to reading it: Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. I really wanted to love this more than I actually did, but it just fell flat.

Although the beginning was enough to get me interested in the story, this novel suffers from what many call “the saggy middle”. Maybe it’s because my preferred genre is horror, and I’m used to thrills and chills at every turn, but the bulk of The Night Circus bored me. And what’s worse is that I didn’t like any of the characters enough to make toughing it out worth it. Honestly, apart from the odd hint about the enigmatic game, it was just a bunch of beautiful people doing things in beautiful places while wearing beautiful clothes. Don’t get me wrong, Morgenstern’s attention to detail is phenomenal, and her descriptions of said beautiful things were truly lovely. But, as a friend of mine once pointed out, some things are like chocolate syrup. It’s nice drizzled on an ice cream sundae, but you don’t want just chocolate syrup. Whenever I managed to sit down and read this for lot periods of time, rather than picking at a chapter here and there, the detailed descriptions of the food, clothing, locations, etc. started to feel like chocolate syrup.

But, I was determined to finish reading, no matter how long it took.

And I’m glad I did finish the book because the last hundred pages or so was actually interesting. Once the outcome of the game is revealed, as well as the first of Bailey’s big choices, things picked up tremendously. I tore through the second half of part two and all of part five because there were actual stakes. Rather than a suggestion of an unspoken ending to a mysterious game, there were tangible consequences for the actions of the characters. It took me three quarters of the book to care about the outcome! Also, by this point the timelines of the A plot and B plot got closer together, changing the pace of the novel for the better. I was able to actually sit down and power through the ending. Besides, I honestly found Bailey’s story to be the stronger and more interesting plot, so having this B plot join up with the A plot certainly helped to keep my attention.

Overall, I’m glad I’ve finally read The Night Circus, and it is good for me to read outside of my preferred genres from time to time. And I’m sure for people who read more fantasy romance novels than I do, this is probably a wonderful read. It’s just not my cup of tea.

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