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The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,1311170302 (4.06)1 / 1093
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.
  1. 7510
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (historycycles, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Magical rivalries are at the heart of these unconventional Fantasy novels, which play out over decades and against elaborate, atmospheric 19th-century backdrops. Their initially relaxed pacing gains momentum as the various narrative threads dramatically converge.… (more)
  2. 331
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (JGKC)
  3. 240
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (shelfoflisa, 47degreesnorth)
    shelfoflisa: Another tale of duelling victorian magicians
  4. 3921
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Oryan685)
  5. 173
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Larkken)
    Larkken: Each detail a dreamlike world overlapping but hidden from the real world to most people.
  6. 2111
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (LDVoorberg)
    LDVoorberg: Fantasy with enough reality to make it seem plausible
  7. 178
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Anonymous user)
  8. 81
    Little, Big by John Crowley (ktbarnes)
    ktbarnes: Both have magical realism, with a fairytale feel
  9. 60
    Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are fantasy about magic and performance, with lovely writing.
  10. 84
    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (TomWaitsTables)
  11. 62
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (bluenotebookonline)
  12. 30
    The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are about the magic of performance, and have colorful performer characters, although one is science fiction and the other is fantasy.
  13. 30
    Touch by Alexi Zentner (JessiAdams)
    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.
  14. 20
    Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster (tandah)
  15. 10
    When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (kgriffith)
    kgriffith: Magical realism, beautiful prose, setting as a character/catalyst
  16. 21
    Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (tralliott)
  17. 10
    Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (mzonderm)
  18. 10
    The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Everyone loves a fantastical circus.
  19. 21
    Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Beautiful type of fairy tale
  20. 00
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn (Kata18)
    Kata18: Both books feel a little like a dream with a touch of magic that's not quite explained.

(see all 26 recommendations)

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» See also 1093 mentions

English (1,159)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (1,173)
Showing 1-5 of 1159 (next | show all)
Charming fantasy with a smouldering love story at the heart and beautiful evocation of magical environments with actual magic mixed in. I notice a previous reviewer gave it one star because it describes Victorian dinners where "no one ever had dietary restrictions or allergies". Yes, I guess that makes it totally unbelievable. ( )
  adzebill | Jun 30, 2022 |
Couldn't put this book down! I love circus books and shows and found this book while looking at lists that included Water For Elephants, one of my favorite circus books. The descriptions in here made me feel like I was at the circus. Must read!! ( )
  sbep | Jun 29, 2022 |
Star and a half because it had pretty descriptions. I originally DNF'ed the book because I don't like second person, which the author opens the book with and uses as occasional chapter transitions. I really don't like second person openings that switch to first person, as I feel it makes the opening pointless and and like the author was kind of trying to show off. Look how pretty I can write, it seems to say. There are other ways to show me, please. People on BookTube raved about this when it first came out, and--um, okay. I was really excited about it, and now thought about second chances. The cover is still beautiful. The art on the pages is still a nice touch. Right away, I realized this was going to be a lyrical story where the power and focus would be in the beautiful sentences, not the plot or characterization. With such novels, readers are meant to savor lush descriptions and and beautiful chapter transitions. It's not intended as a character study, but to admire the author's skill. That was the case here, only I really have to be in the mood for it -and- swept away by such book, and I wasn't here. I waited patiently to be engaged with the story somehow.

Prospero was a real jerk and Chandresh was a creep. Among other things, he never tells his guests of his midnight feasts what the ingredients are, and I can't suspend my disbelief enough to imagine that no one ever had dietary restrictions or allergies. Those existed in the 1880s, when this novel takes place, even if it is in a fantasy world under eerie-ness. New headcanon: he's a serial poisoner. One guest is described as wearing a gorgeous ruby necklace, and I delighted in imagining it until it was stated that her throat looked like it had been slit and it was beautiful. This occurred on page 57 of the edition I was reading. Instantly and irrevocably, I thought of how "The Hunger Games" describes actual slit throats: still with prose, but not at all romanticized.

It wasn't until ninety pages in that I figured out all three timelines (Bailey, Marco/Celia, and the second-person transitions) the book whips back and forth between, were going to intertwine and the story would then begin. It was an impatient wait, as the entire novel read like multiple backstories for every single character until the integration. I delighted in the Ice Gardens descriptions, though. The love triangle was barely there between Isobel, Marco and Celia, but it was still annoying. Nearly two hundred pages in, though, the story does begin. I wanted it to be over, but had resolved to finish it. The story is a slightly faster-paced character study that quickly becomes an attempt at a star-crossed romance, with side characters also being paired up. It was a chore to read except for some descriptions, and I was relieved when I finished. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 24, 2022 |
I was very unsure how to rate this title. On one hand there was a lot I liked about it but there were definitely a few things that I didn't. I loved the writing style, it was very lyrical and descriptive. I really felt like I was actually there in the circus setting. I also liked the idea of a competition between two magicians. On the other hand the plot was little to nonexistent. I expected everything to be mysterious in the beginning but thought that as we progressed forward certain things would come to light and the 'action' would begin. I also expected at least some character development. I was entirely disappointed in that regard and really wish that had not been the case. I am glad I read it but it is definitely not one of my favorite books. ( )
  awesomejen2 | Jun 21, 2022 |
The imagery in the book was amazing - I think everyone would love to visit a circus like that! ( )
1 vote Micareads | Jun 21, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 1159 (next | show all)
Morgenstern’s wonderful novel is made all the more enchanting by top-notch narration from the incomparable Jim Dale.
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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morgenstern, Erinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dale, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forrester, KateCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobeit, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koay, Pei LoiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magrì, MarinellaTranslatorsecondary 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)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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