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)
I write, I read, I cook, I watch movies...I'm a big kid.
Think Cirque du Soleil meets Harry Potter with youthful imagination and mature sophistication. Listening to this story is like hearing a secret that no one else can handle, except you.
A Traveling Listener
I think this was a good listen. The story was longer than necessary due to detailed descriptions that were often repetative - however I could not decide whether they were without value. The characters were interesting and the narrator was able to convey each with subtle difference in voice and tone. There were a few times that I had difficulty knowing who was speaking but that was because I listen in my car and came in and out of the story at strange times. Overall I am glad I experienced the Night Circus.
Reading and listening to this book is like going to Wonderland or Neverland and meeting all new characters. The descriptions are amazing and the creations are magical. As always, Jim Dale does a wonderful job delivering this story to us. I will agree that the women kind of sound like a Monty Python version of what a woman sounds like, but I pretend it is all part of the show.
The story is magical. The narration is brilliant. The experience of listening to this book is enchanting. While this is a fantasy set in a Victorian period, it is as much a fairytale, mystery, romance... Some fantasy is escape while some is metaphor. This book explores many themes and ideas with well-developed characters and a clever plot that is engaging. This is not just fancy, it is fine literature to be savored.
I really wanted to enjoy this book, and as I became accustomed to the somewhat cold characters and started to simply luxuriate in the wonders of the circus, I began to really enjoy it. The descriptive writing is truly splendid. However, few of the characters are really that interesting in themselves. The reader does not help this. He's actually a very good reader, and I think with another book I'd enjoy him. Not this book though. His measured, somewhat aloof reading, although it seems to be well matched to tone of the book, interfered with the magic and made the characters seem even less accessible. This may be a book that's better read the traditional way, so your imagination has a chance to absorb it.
I won't say what other reviewers have already expressed... this book could have been better. Though it was beautifully written in its details and descriptions, the story just lacked movement for me, especially the end. The idea was fantastic and started out so well, which is probably why the last quarter of the book was so disappointing. Anyway, I purchased it mostly because Jim Dale narrates it, and he does a fine job. I would recommend "The Emerald Atlas" if you're looking for a magical adventure with Jim Dale narrating.
I'm a fan of Sci-fi, fantasy and suspense. I like books that keep me guessing till the end.
I don't know if I would listen again, there is a sense of discovery with this book. Once that is gone, listening to it again would cause me to over-analyse a book that I just enjoyed the first time.
Oddly enough, it reminded me of IT by Stephen King (not for the horror, but for the story telling) as well as Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. The flashes back and forth, and the higher powers that manipulate the characters.
I think the accent brings a sense of distance and just out of norm. His pace was perfect and I was never left with the urge to fast forward.
I think I would have to take Celia out for a dinner and conversation, but I'm still fascinated by Marco. And the twins would be fun to walk the circus with.
I recommend it, but you'll wish it was a place you could visit when you're done.
Of the 10 audiobooks I have listened to this year, The Night Circus was my least favorite. By a long shot.
I wanted to like this book - the reviews were glowing, the premise was enthralling, but overall I just did not experience any of those feelings that others have talked about. The characters were undeveloped and flat, the story had no real point, the descriptions of unimportant objects and events were tedious. I did finish the book, because I kept thinking it would get better, but it was painful to listen to all the way to the end.
There was nothing to sink your teeth into, nothing to think about when you weren't reading, no cliffhangers or suspense or really any reason to keep going.
It's a shame, too, because the premise of this story is fantastic, and the potential incredible, but it just didn't deliver. Not even close.
Worst of all was the narrator. He. Pronounced. Every. Word. Like. It. Was. Written. Like. This. It. Was. Unbearable!
While the story is interesting the narration is not a good fit. I felt that it took away from the book completely. I hated the accents this Jim Dale gave to the women and children in the book. Completely ruined it for me.
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