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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,985988369 (4.08)1 / 959
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    Larkken: Each detail a dreamlike world overlapping but hidden from the real world to most people.
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    The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman (Anonymous user)
  8. 71
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    ktbarnes: Both have magical realism, with a fairytale feel
  9. 50
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    amysisson: Both are fantasy about magic and performance, with lovely writing.
  10. 62
    The Book of Lost Things: A Novel by John Connolly (bluenotebookonline)
  11. 30
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    JessiAdams: Both books have a similiar combination of realism and fantasy with similiar imagery. Wish I could describe it better, but I can't. Both of these books just FEEL the same.
  12. 30
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    amysisson: Both are about the magic of performance, and have colorful performer characters, although one is science fiction and the other is fantasy.
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    LongDogMom: Beautiful type of fairy tale
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  18. 10
    The Gracekeepers: A Novel by Kirsty Logan (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Everyone loves a fantastical circus.
  19. 11
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    d04rules: Both fantastical books for dreamers
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    The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp (Othemts)

(see all 24 recommendations)

Circus (2)
1800s (1)

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English (986)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Greek (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (1,000)
Showing 1-5 of 986 (next | show all)

I think I would have given it a 4 had it not taken almost 300 pages for something to actually happen.

But Celia and Marco though... ( )
  jawink22 | Feb 6, 2019 |
This is an absolutely delightful fantasy. I loved that not only did we have the dream circus, but that the story goes into both the prosaic and the magical background to it.

So many beautiful ideas -- the world-building and the setting are amazingly lush. And I loved that the 'bad' characters are just people. Not nasty, not out there unpleasant, just oddly normal people, just, subtly icky. ( )
  fred_mouse | Jan 16, 2019 |
It took me a bit to get into this book. I bought The Night Circus on a whim after seeing all the hype regarding it on bookstagram. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was worried it would be overhyped. At first I wasn’t sure I would like it due to its unusual (and sometimes confusing) way of storytelling, but this turned out to be a beautiful piece of fiction once I chose to stick with it. There is magic, mystery, a sense of time travel – the story is told through a non-linear timeline – and a healthy dose of forbidden love.

I loved the description of magic and how much of a focal point it was. The way Celia could change the color of her dress, the color bleeding across the fabric like ink, was just one of the fascinating parts of The Night Circus. Magic was not simply placed in this book – it was woven in with great attention to detail.

In a way, I felt that the “competition” that the main characters, Celia and Marco, competed in was lacking. The summary describes it as a “fierce competition…a duel between two young magicians…who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors.” However, for most of the story, no one – not even the main characters – know what the game entails! They are constantly told that the game has rules, and yet they are never spoken of. Indeed, most of their time is spent building Le Cirque des Rêves, their arena per se, and designing magical tents for or with each other. I didn’t understand where the “fierce” part was in this competition, but there was still tension between the two competitors.

There was one other thing about the book that took me a long time to get used to, and that was the writing style. For the sake of not spoiling the story, I will keep this part rather vague. The story was all over the place, which was a bit confusing at times – one moment, we were listening to one character’s conversation with a mysterious shadow, and the next we were catapulted backward in time to meet one of the new performers for the Circus.

And due to the way the book was written, I constantly felt as if I were not quite in the story – as if I were reading a newspaper article (albeit a fascinating, magical one) or standing outside a room, looking through a window as the characters moved about inside their world. I have read many books that pulled me into the story and set me right beside the characters, but this book was different. I felt like I was held at arm’s length so as not to feel too included. However, at the end, this way of writing made perfect sense, and I was glad that I did not let it put me off from finishing the book.

What I loved most about The Night Circus was that Erin Morgenstern had a knack for describing her world in such a magical, captivating way. After finishing the book, I wished Le Cirque des Rêves did indeed exist because I would totally join the rêveurs! The living statues, the clock that chimes for the opening of the Circus, the never-ending exploration of the magical tents, the “fantastically delicious cinnamon things” – I would never want to leave! ( )
  Megan_Inkling | Jan 15, 2019 |
This was a great book. Different - don't get me wrong - but great. It was set in the late 1800's early 1900s. It is about two young people - a man and a woman - who have magic abilities. The girl's father and "The man in the gray suit" enter these two into a challenge. These are bound to the challenge as children and never told about the other person. The winner gets to live.

What they develop is the Night Circus. Each piece of the circus, and all the people that are a part of it are a part of the challenge. And eventually, they figure out who their challenger is, meet, fall in love......

The story is lovely. It bounces all over the place over the course of 30 years so you have to be paying attention. The other characters are developed almost as much as the two challengers, which I really liked. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Morgenstern sets up the premise for what seems to be an intruiging world, but gets nowhere; resulting in a book that while enjoyable and eminently readable, seems desperately searching for a deeper, literary character that it does not earn. The worldbuilding seems promising; the characters, on the other hand, never quite live up to it. ( )
  A-S | Jan 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 986 (next | show all)
I am a reader who should have hated this novel; yet I found it enchanting, and affecting, too, in spite of its sentimental ending. Morgenstern's patient, lucid construction of her circus – of its creators and performers and followers – makes for a world of illusion more real than that of many a realist fiction. There is a matter-of-factness about the magicians' magic, a consistency about the parameters of the circus world, that succeeds both in itself and as a comment upon the need for and nature of illusion in general. While the novel's occasional philosophical gestures seem glib ("You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream"), the book enacts its worldview more satisfyingly than could any summary or statement. Rather than forcing its readers to be prisoners in someone else's imagination, Morgenstern's imaginary circus invites readers to join in an exploration of the possible.
Underneath the icy polish of her prose, Morgenstern well understands what makes The Night Circus tick: that Marco and Celia, whether in competition or in love, are part of a wider world they must engage with but also transcend. It’s a world whose mystique and enigma is hard to shake off, and that invites multiple visits.
The Night Circus is one of those books. One of those rare, wonderful, transcendent books that, upon finishing, you want to immediately start again.
The book itself looks beautiful but creaky plotting and lifeless characters leave The Night Circus less than enchanting
added by ncgraham | editThe Observer, Olivia Laing (Sep 11, 2011)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erin Morgensternprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dale, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobeit, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koay, Pei LoiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musselwhite, HelenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
--Oscar Wilde, 1888
First words
The circus arrives without warning.
Follow your dreams, Bailey, she says. Be they Harvard or something else entirely. No matter what that father of yours says, or how loudly he might say it. He forgets that he was someone's dream once himself.
Children are dragged away with promises that they may return the next evening, though the circus will not be there the next evening and later those children will feel slighted and betrayed.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.
I do not like being left in the dark. I am not particularly fond of believing in impossible things.
You're not destined or chosen, I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it's not true. You're in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that's enough.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A circus known as Le Cirque des Reves features two illusionists, Celia and Marco, who are unknowingly competing in a game to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters, and as the two fall deeply and passionately in love with each other, their masters intervene with dangerous consequences.
Haiku summary
Magicians in love
Forced to duel at the circus
Put on a great show.
Where a boy bears lovers' dreams
with a seer of stars
and night goes on forever.
A light and airy
feast for the senses. But wait,
darkness lurks beneath.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307744434, Paperback)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Erin Morgenstern’s dark, enchanting debut takes us to the black and white tents of Le Cirque des Reves, a circus that arrives without warning, simply appearing when yesterday it was not there. Young Celia and Marco have been cast into a rivalry at The Night Circus, one arranged long ago by powers they do not fully understand. Over time, their lives become more intricately enmeshed in a dance of love, joy, deceit, heartbreak, and magic. Author Morgenstern knows her world inside and out, and she guides the reader with a confident hand. The setting and tone are never less than mesmerizing. The characters are well-realized and memorable. But it is the Night Circus itself that might be the most memorable of all. --Chris Schluep

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.

» see all 18 descriptions

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