The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
©2011 Erin Morgenstern (P)2011 Random House
"The Night Circus made me happy. Playful and intensely imaginative, Erin Morgenstern has created the circus I have always longed for, and she has populated it with dueling love-struck magicians, precocious kittens, hyper-elegant displays of beauty, and complicated clocks. This is a marvelous book." (Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife)
"Self-assured, entertaining debut that blends genres and crosses continents in quest of magic…. Generous in its vision and fun to read. Likely to be a big book—and, soon, a big movie, with all the franchise trimmings." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love... a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom. This is an electric debut on par with Special Topics in Calamity Physics." (Publishers Weekly)
Absolutely the wrong reader - Marco and Celia are young adults, yet he makes Marco sound like an elderly man throughout the book. Celia no better. He isn't a bad reader, just not for these characters.
This is a fantasy book, and the environment created by the author is indeed fantastic and fantasical, but that's where things end. There is little character development and the people in the novel seem to only rate a very distant second behind the environment of the Circus -- and the plot (what most people like to move the book along) rates a distant third. I think it's too bad that the author didn't do more with the premise - a mysterious and wonderful circus where magic masquerades as illusion - but instead spend time and words reiterating again and again he look, scents, and sounds of the circus. I think the characters, with learned and innate magical abilities, would have been interesting characters, had we really gotten to know them, but instead they were glossed over as mere cogs in the wheel of the circus, rather than (what I would have liked) the fuel that moved the wheel of the circus. The author never even bothered to consider exploring the very obvious anomaly that the twins aged significantly faster than anyone else associated with the circus, and sadly didn't really explore the effect such things had on those people.
And opportunity wasted. In fact, if it wasn't for the narration, I think I would have felt even worse about the book. To me, Jim Dale's narration always makes things sound like a fairy tale, and that worked well for this novel. He is wonderful and believable at managing multiple voices in the same reading, and his fairy tale narration added to painting the fantasy better (I think) than the words alone would have.
It was so new and different. I really had no idea where it was going and how it would end. There so many ways it could go and it was a blast trying to guess what would happen next.
When Marco reveals himself to Celia.
Great story that's a romance and more. I don't like books where the author seems to scream, "I'm a great writer! Look at all the beautiful words I've written...look how many I use to describe every last detail of every scene". This author is great...and does have a vivid imagination but, it doesn't bog down the action. I never felt like I needed to skip ahead to the action like I do with some books in the fiction genre.
It was just a really unique story. I really hope they make a movie out of this...it would be excellent!
I absolutely love Jim Dale. I've listened to him narrate the Harry Potter books and was excited to hear him again. He did not disappoint! I also liked the story. I did feel like the time span was a little drawn out. I didn't fully understand the whole point of the game and how Celia and Marco's
I don't want to give out any spoilers (I hate spoilers) but I'd say I probably liked the first half of the book better.
I loved his voices for the twins. He moves so easily in and out of different characters and accents.
Oh goodness. Probably Celia.
I did feel like the time span was a little drawn out. I didn't fully understand the whole point of the game and how Celia and Marco's moves. They didn't even feel like moves. I guess the author was trying to step away from just doing duels and such by being more subtle but I think she went too subtle.
I like reading, roller derby, creepy things and art.
I would give this book a 2nd listen for sure.
I liked all the characters and the pacing was good.
.... can't pick one.
Imagination, heart, determination
I would have to say I am torn between Celia and Poppet- both are strong in their own way and find solutions to even the strangest problems and circumstances
Heart and another level of mystery
I found myself finding excuses to listen when I originally just downloaded the book for my commute.
While I was just looking for a morning drive distraction, the Night Circus took me into a whole new world. Not all books can ignite my own personal imagination, but I found myself guessing and re-guessing what would happen next while Erin had already written a perfect surprise into the novel. A great listen/read if you are looking for something to take you away. It has heart, but is not depressing. It has love, but is not overly "gooey" - It has true imagination that is hard to come by sometimes.
I would recommend the book itself, yes, because on print, the story might have actually looked better. Since I listened to this in the span of days, it was difficult to keep track of the numerous descriptions and story arcs without having to go back to a certain passage and whatnot, especially with so many time-jumps, etc. Other than that, I thought the descriptions of the circus itself were rather pretty.
Probably not. The writing seemed fantastical and very descriptive, and while I love that in some writing, I would actually prefer to read about it and imagine the scenery myself without having to listen to someone narrating a description of a scene to me.
Jim Dale was a phenomenal narrator, but I'm generally biased because I've also listened to his impeccable storytelling role as the narrator in the sadly-cancelled Pushing Daisies. There was certainly nothing wrong with his narration, and he's probably one of the major reasons why I hadn't gone and just read the book instead.
I'm on the fence about it needing a sequel. I think maybe a prequel, with Tsukiko, would be better, or a companion novel detailing the goings on with Poppy and Widget.
I did come away with dreaming about what the Night Circus consisted of, and I loved the whimsy portrayed in the description of the scenes within the circus. As for story and characters, however, I oscillated between feeling underwhelmed and overwhelmed; underwhelmed by the entire story itself and overwhelmed by the amount of characters that were thrown in and given points of view. The summary of The Night Circus itself didn't help much, either, especially when the book seemed more of an exposition of the goings on of a certain place rather than an overall focus of any plot. I did feel that The Night Circus could have been passed on as a collection of short stories, with the overall events and character adventures (or misadventures) happening smack dab in the middle of the location. But that's just me.
Sometimes, there can definitely be such a thing as too much attention to detail. While the descriptions of the scenery and characters in the book were well formed, constantly having to hear detailed descriptions about every meal, outfit, party, etc., made the book more than I could handle.
Hard to choose what I loved "best" -- the narrator was superb, the story was full of unexpected moments and turns, but best of all, it takes you in, gradually, like entering into a dream. Suddenly you realize you're completely captivated by the story, as if in your own dream. Ultimately the story gently winds you back out - and just when you think it is over, there is a little more - and you begin to see that you still have layers to understand as you are gradually brought "back" to a fully awakened state. Beautifully done.
The only other book I have found so deeply engrossing was Perdido Street Station - and believe it or not, I am not much of a Science Fiction enthusiast.
I had no favorite - but I am a visual thinker, and the author beautifully draws the detail of fantastical experiences - ice gardens, eternal flames, true magic masquerading as illusion.
Oh, most definitely. It's the one I always looked forward to, even in brief spare moments. But the best listens were when i could relax and delve in.
I truly appreciated the author's overall guiding of the listener gently yet persistently through the dream-like story with its fantastical twists and turns - they were just as believable as any deeply experienced dream - where you know it wasn't really true yet somehow, it was.
I love Stephen King and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I own almost all King books. I love Kenyon's Dark Hunter books.
This was a hard to stop listening to book. Wonderful imagery and beautiful story.
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