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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus (edition 2012)

by Erin Morgenstern

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,915893338 (4.08)1 / 895
Title:The Night Circus
Authors:Erin Morgenstern
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, 2013 CC

Work details

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Circus (9)

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English (889)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Greek (1)  Danish (1)  All (903)
Showing 1-5 of 889 (next | show all)
I'm not sure how to categorise this book or even how to describe it. I think it was more like an experience than a book, and I have to admit I was carried away and totally captivated by the whole thing. In short I loved it. Not the best story you might ever read but it just had that je ne said quoi! I can see how it would be a book you'd either love or hate with not much middle ground. I listened to this on the commute and Jim Dale did an excellent job with it. Couldn't wait at the end for the next commute and had to just keep on listening! ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Feb 17, 2017 |
I'm not rating it yet because I'm conflicted. The first half has beautiful imagery and fabulous visuals but it became tedious to read pages and pages of descriptive writing. I abandoned the audio book despite the wonderful narration by Jim Dale and switched to the hardback. I admit I skimmed some passages. There wasn't enough character development and the third person present tense kept me from becoming emotionally invested in the characters. The last 100 pages were more gripping and several secondary characters were more interesting to me than the two main characters. I wanted to know more about Poppet, Widget, Bailey, and Herr Thiessen and wish they had played a more prominent role in the story. The movie rights have been sold and I suspect I'm going to like the movie better than the book. Yet I'm glad I read it. It's unique, like nothing I've ever read before.

Update: I'm going with 3 stars but with a caveat. The first 2/3 was a 2 star read for me and the last third was close to a 4 because I was interested in how it would end. That averages out to a 3 although at best it was a 2.5. I know I'm not alone but I guess I'm in the minority in not being totally enthralled. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Loved it! Absolutely loved it. I don't usually like books about magic or fantasy...a "magical realism" tag is enough to make me move on to another book. But this book tells such an enchanting story and creates, in the circus itself, a rich world of imagination. How I wish someone would produce an illustrated version!

This is a love story, but also a story about the role of magic and imagination in the world we live it. It's about the power of stories and epic quests, and whether they are losing their importance in the modern world. It's about loyalty and commitment. Wonderful characters...a real treat for your imagination. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Jan 31, 2017 |
Great book, if only because the fantasy world takes one away from everyday worries and troubles. Morgenstern's rich description takes you right into the heart of the circus, making you feel right in it. I also like the tone of the book, the length of the sentences are always just about right, not too long or short. ( )
  siok | Jan 30, 2017 |
I picked this book up because it began as a NaNoWriMo novel. I didn't like it because it ended up like a NaNoWriMo novel. It was as if this book were written entirely using NaNo methods - turning off the internal editor, letting your mind wander, using full names (really, I thought of NaNo every time I read about "Chandresh Christophe Lefevre" (sp?) and "the man in the gray suit" - those are classic NaNo tricks to pad word count), using lots of description and telling, jumping from scene to scene and time to time, as if no one ever organized the story after it was drafted. I was very surprised to learn that this was published by a major publishing house, because it did not appear that this book was edited. Throughout the book, there were echos (one sentence in particular had the word attention in it something like 3 or 4 times), poorly written sentences, bad metaphors and analogies, that sort of thing.

It might not have been quite so much a disappointment if the blurb had been accurate. The book description describes an epic battle between wizards/magicians, a epic battle to the death - an epic game pitting one against the other (see how annoying that "epic" echo is?). This book is not thrilling in any sense of the word. It is slow and plodding, full of rich description (which, for me, takes away what I like about reading - I don't have to have every detail of every piece of clothing explained to me, I want to let my imagination fill in the gaps). Towards the end of the book, I caught myself saying, literally, oh, isn't this book over YET?!

If you like extremely detailed description, this book might be for you. If you are looking for a thrilling story, well-developed characters and a compelling plot, skip this one. ( )
  LLRobinett | Jan 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 889 (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 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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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Average: (4.08)
0.5 6
1 52
1.5 9
2 132
2.5 39
3 499
3.5 209
4 1120
4.5 266
5 1301


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