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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus (edition 2011)

by Erin Morgenstern

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,582872355 (4.09)1 / 878
Title:The Night Circus
Authors:Erin Morgenstern
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fantasies, ALA, read in 2012

Work details

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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English (866)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Danish (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (879)
Showing 1-5 of 866 (next | show all)

So, I picked this up because of a couple key words in about every description I read: "magic," "duel," "historical fiction!" Which ended up equaling, in my mind, a Triwizard Tournament without the, you know, Tri part. It could be comparable to a Triwizard Tournament... Morganstern is good with imagery and she introduces you to very interesting characters- I'm not going to get her confused with Rowling at any point but there's talent there (yes, I'm saying this in Hagrid's 'you're a wizerd, Harry,' voice in my head). Back to the point I was making, comparable to a Triwizard Tournament that goes on for years (and years) and in which Cedric and Harry fall in love because they complete each other which makes their psychopathic teachers piss-their-pants pissy because somehow they didn't see THAT coming and they wanted one of them to up and die like they were supposed to, that's how they get their jollies after all. So Harry and Cedric hop the vrrrooom (all manner of puns are definitely implied in these last three words and it makes me happy) energy with one of them supplying the pop and showbiz side of things so they can have a happily ever after and call it a stalemate in order to save the hundreds of innocent bystanders that were put in the glare of the spotlight for the sole amusement of a teacher and his ex-student that can't just sing kumbaya and drop the measuring sticks.

In case you're trapped in the dark woods of my rambling analogy: the main issue I had/have with this book is it's sluggish pace. That's not to say that interesting things don't dot the yellow brick road along the way and it certainly kept me turning pages. But, "duel," they did not. Not that you really want them to because of how things end up working out on the character development side of things. So Morgenstern gave us food for thought, a unique twisting plot, and characters you want to read more about. That's a pretty big accomplishment. If it weren't for the slow pace, the non-dueling, and the so-not edge of the 19th century-ish dialogue which kind of hampers the reader being able to see it in a historical-fiction light, I probably would have given a higher rating. All being said, I liked the book and would rec it. It's probably not a fave but definitely a worthwhile read. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
I have to read this again before I write a full review. This was spectacular. ( )
  EllAreBee | Sep 19, 2016 |
This was gorgeous, why did I wait so long to read it? (She says for the six millionth time about the six millionth book, possibly answering the question.) Someone told me that the main characters weren't all that interesting but the setting was perfect, which I think isn't quite true -- the main characters are very much fairy tale characters, and they are important to the extent that the story they live in is important, and the story is a key part of the circus, but it is all in service of the setting, the beautiful, perfect circus that trumps everything else. But it is a satisfying story as well, with a satisfying end. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 19, 2016 |
This was a book with an interesting premise that didn't quite live up to the hype (at least for me).
I found the setting to be well thought out and the characters for the most part were 3 dimensional and well realized. Sometimes their motivations and personalities seemed to get a bit cardboard-y (hush, it's a word!).

I really liked the story however, and am looking forward to seeing what else comes from this author. ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Sep 17, 2016 |
I adored this book. It's a story about a forbidden love that was inevitable, all revolving around a circus. The plot jumps were a bit confusing at first, but then I paid more attention to the dates at the start of each chapter. It's an easy read for a lazy day. ( )
  Kaitlynmurmaid | Sep 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 866 (next | show all)
Magic without passion is pretty much a trip to Pier One: lots of shrink-wrapped candles. One wishes Morgenstern had spent less time on the special effects and more on the hauntingly unanswerable question that runs, more or less ignored, through these pages: Can children love who were never loved, only used as intellectual machines? What kind of magic reverses that spell? It’s not as pretty a spectacle, but that’s a story that grips the heart.
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 editionsconfirmed
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.
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(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.

(summary from another edition)

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