I really wanted to love this book. The premise was intriguing and I love Jim Dale. It was trying to be Water for Elephants meets Harry Potter, but it just didn't succeed. The moving back and forth between years just didn't work (and I loved Time Traveler's Wife). There seemed to be so much of the story that just didn't get fleshed out, and it ended without a whole lot of resolution. I think the main thing it was missing was a really good editor.
I love fantasy and magic in fiction and expected to like this book but gave up on finishing it about halfway through. Most of the book is spent on descriptions of the appearance of characters, what characters think about the appearance of other characters, and the physical setting of the circus. It's enchanting at first but gets old and repeptitive fast.
Ancient Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor
Reminiscent of Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell. You need to pay attention to the dates because you're bounced around a bit. Erin Morgenstern builds a compelling world within a world and Jim Dale does a fantastic job of narration. He gives voice and character to the people populating the novel and went above and beyond expectations. Great listening. I may buy the book and read it in order to appreciate the timeline more fully. The ending was a bit of a comedown, but the high tension level throughout may have more to do with that feeling than any real shortcoming.
I simply loved this book, and Jim Dale is a master stroke as well. The world of the book was painted with such a delicate brush I saw each jaw dropping moment.
Ah, this might have been a great story, but it was hard to tell from the dead, flat tone of the narrator. The only time he showed any spirit was when narrating the voices of children. Blechhh.
... it's a place of magical delights and both the writing and the narration give you the experience of being there. OK OK ... sometimes the story seemed to forget where it was and got lost in its love of its details ... and OK OK ... sometimes you could see the author imagining which actress was playing Celia ..
But if you are drawn to this type of novel, you will not regret buying this one.
The story of two magicians as they compete and fall love in the venue of a circus, and the repercussions that their competition and love have on those around them. Ms. Morgenstern has a delicious style of writing that captivates the mind and the senses. Too often in the fantasy genre, we have authors who have wonderful ideas but their writing is so drab that it looses the reader, and on the other end we have authors who use the language masterfully but have ridiculous ideas. Ms. Morgenstern combines both lush writing with fresh new ideas in the tired and overworked genre of fantasy. I think my favorite aspect to her ideas is that doesn't over explain the magic, she allows it to stay mysterious and mystical without explaining the mechanics. In many a novel, the author spends so much time explaining the mechanics of the magic, it stops being magic and becomes a sad science. Ms. Morgenstern, in the tradition of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, creates a world where magic exists but we are not expected to understand it's workings, just to be enchanted by it.
There are many good things about this book, not the least of which being the lush writing that puts the reader in the middle of a magical circus. Unfortunately, though, the love story is totally unconvincing. The scenes between the lovers read like a portion of Twilight - the characters fall in love before you know it and say really, really painfully hokey things. The characters' motivations are swept into "because they're so totally in love and dedicated to each other," which isn't compelling at all. Still, a good story; a solid 3.
I tend to chose audiobooks more by the reader than the book/story (although this is not to say that the story does not count). Jim Dale is my favourite reader and hence why I bought "The Night Circus". The story is very good - not excellent nor very complex. It has vague similarities to "Harry Potter" (and given that Dale also read those, it makes the similarities seem greater). I would definitely recommend this book for those who enjoy fantastical fiction. Though keep in mind that "The Night Circus" seems to be more adolescent fiction.....not anything near the fantastical fiction of Le Guin!!!