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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,965997375 (4.07)1 / 962
  1. 7011
    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. 321
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (JGKC)
  3. 220
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (shelfoflisa, 47degreesnorth)
    shelfoflisa: Another tale of duelling victorian magicians
  4. 3920
    Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (Oryan685)
  5. 171
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Larkken)
    Larkken: Each detail a dreamlike world overlapping but hidden from the real world to most people.
  6. 2110
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (LDVoorberg)
    LDVoorberg: Fantasy with enough reality to make it seem plausible
  7. 71
    Little, Big by John Crowley (ktbarnes)
    ktbarnes: Both have magical realism, with a fairytale feel
  8. 148
    The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman (Anonymous user)
  9. 50
    Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip (amysisson)
    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
    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.
  12. 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.
  13. 20
    When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel by Anna-Marie McLemore (kgriffith)
    kgriffith: Magical realism, beautiful prose, setting as a character/catalyst
  14. 64
    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 20
    Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster (tandah)
  16. 10
    The Gracekeepers: A Novel by Kirsty Logan (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Everyone loves a fantastical circus.
  17. 21
    Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Beautiful type of fairy tale
  18. 10
    Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (mzonderm)
  19. 11
    The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp (Othemts)
  20. 11
    Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser (d04rules)
    d04rules: Both fantastical books for dreamers

(see all 24 recommendations)

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English (989)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Greek (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (1,003)
Showing 1-5 of 989 (next | show all)
This book had the unenviable position of being the one I read after The Charioteer, which blew my mind. I can see why people love this book, and why it gets compared to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and Harry Potter, and Neil Gaiman. I think it's just not for me. The anachronisms bothered me the most - she should not have set this in any particular time period, in my opinion. It ended up feeling like a lot of choices she made were aesthetic ones, and as a result it felt too surfacey for me. That's something Jonathan Strange (which I adore) really excelled at - placing the story very firmly in its historical setting.

And like other readers, I felt like some of the characters were very cardboard - particularly Marco, Bailey, Tsukiko, and Hector. I needed to see their motivations more.

This book succeeds as a beautiful aesthetic experience, but I wanted more beneath the surface. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
I don’t want to expend much effort on The Night Circus, because I know that with thousands of reviews, dozens of which have hundreds of likes, my lukewarm thoughts will be buried in no time. So I’ll keep it relatively brief.

What I liked? The color, or lack thereof. The setting and scenery of this novel are, in my opinion, its very best qualities. The circus, with its black and white tents and dashes of red, is stunning. The various shows are worth the price of admission. It’s perhaps too easy a comparison to make, but I doubt any fan of Tim Burton’s movies can read this novel without thinking of his style of moviemaking. Also, I liked the bones of this story. It’s an interesting premise and, as an outline, it works great.

What I didn’t like? Despite having a great premise, the story itself is so incredibly dry. This is a great example of a plot-driven novel. Events happen, then more events, but there’s little to no reflection or character development. People eat this style up, and I know I’m in the minority, but I find it boring. Even though it’s focused on plot, The Night Circus fails by telling far too many of the details without showing them: pivotal scenes are surmised by conversations between characters. Likewise, the romance is artificial. The only reason we know the two leads are in love is because the reader is told they are. No spark is evident between them.

Recommended for fans of adventure-based epics with more show than substance. ( )
  chrisblocker | Apr 4, 2019 |
I enjoyed the Night Circus but I thought it was slow and a little convoluted. I’m glad I stuck with it to the end though. The magical, mysterious Circus was fascinating and the intertwined stories and characters kept my interest but I did find myself wishing it would move along faster. There’s a lot of unnecessary diversions from the main plot, which itself is sort of nebulous and remains undetermined even until the end. A decent read but not my favorite book I read this year. 3.5/5 stars ⭐️ ( )
  justjoshinreads | Mar 22, 2019 |
While this book got off to a bit of a slow start, it really pays off. I love the description of the circus, and many of the secondary characters were great. In fact, I liked the secondary characters including Poppet, Bailey, Chandresh, and Herr Thiessen more than I liked the main characters. ( )
  dcoward | Mar 21, 2019 |
This is creativity at it's finest and is an ideal read for those with a visual imagination who will be transported to magical settings beyond what a cinematic screen can portray.

Personally, I'm more of an emotional reader than a visual one, so the fantastical imagery is only part of the formula for what I need to Love a book. At times this book delivered on all fronts and I was enraptured, but other times (more so early on) I wasn't even sure whether I liked the book. The story itself has many layers which sometimes caused confusion, particularly when bouncing around time frames and having scenes from minor characters' POV's. The love story that drives the plot is moving, especially Marco's sentiments, and yet it doesn't read like 'a book about a love story', which is interesting. The poetic writing style was different than what I normally read, and it was beautiful. I suppose I'm more impressed with this book than anything.

The lasting impression has me torn hovering around a 3.5 rating. However, the physical hardback (UK edition) is the most beautiful contemporary book I've ever purchased which easily adds enough weight for me to give this 4 stars. ( )
  RachelDavenSkinner | Mar 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 989 (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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
First words
The circus arrives without warning.
Quotations
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.
(yoyogod)
Where a boy bears lovers' dreams
with a seer of stars
and night goes on forever.
(blueviolent)
A light and airy
feast for the senses. But wait,
darkness lurks beneath.
(passion4reading)

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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