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The Night Circus | [Erin Morgenstern]

The Night Circus

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (6606 )
5 star
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4.1 (5879 )
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4.5 (5879 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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  •  
    Pamela Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-22-11
    Pamela Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The circus of your dreams"

    This was one of the most wonderful books I've ever heard. A feast for the ears. The story is fantastically imaginative, the prose is richly visual, I could see all the details of the circus and smell the popcorn and caramel. I wanted to visit the circus myself! The narrator does a wonderful job bringing everything to life. I didn’t want it to end. Once it was over, I couldn’t wait to listen again. This is everything an audiobook should be - try it, you won't be sorry.

    98 of 103 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 09-18-11
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 09-18-11 Member Since 2005

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2506
    ratings
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    "Dreamlike Experience to Savor"

    This story envelops the reader. I cannot think of another book I have so thoroughly relished. With each and every sentence the author invites you to feel, taste and smell the Night Circus.This circus is like nothing else, beyond imagination. Yet I could see myself there, and although the circus is in only black and white, I was immersed in color and texture. Listening to this story is like eating the most amazing meal in the most beautiful placed you can imagine while sitting next to someone with whom you are infatuated. What a wonderful dream, I want to return and feel it all again, so sad when the book ended. And the narration brings it all alive, kudos to both author and narrator.

    144 of 153 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Modesto, CA 07-02-12
    Joe Modesto, CA 07-02-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    414
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    37
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    Story
    "I had high hopes for this one - unfortunately."

    I don't normally read these kinds of books, but the reviews were great. A lot of listeners loved the book. I didn't. The story had a lot of promise, but the characters that ended up being the ones focused on had a good beginning, a poor conclusion and a soft middle-story. The descriptions were good, but didn't add too much to the plot of the story. There was also a weird digression into the occult that added nothing to the story and was a little annoying. The narrator was excellent; the story itself had promise. The descriptions were good but didn't build the story as well as they could have.
    For me, this was a case of a bad fit. It's a case of "everything is not for everyone." You may enjoy this book. I wouldn't recommend the book, though.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 09-19-11
    Victoria 09-19-11 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "Deliciously Imaginative"

    This beautifully descriptive book could not come out during a better season when the imagination is already a tingle for Halloween. This world created by Ms. Morgenstern rolls out the red carpet for characters are rich and strong in their own right. This is a book that will always be on my iPod.

    60 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teddy Bronx, NY, United States 01-04-12
    Teddy Bronx, NY, United States 01-04-12

    "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "It does feel magical"

    The narrator made this book for me. The story itself is a pretty cool, I like the concept and it was just plain fun to listen to. I think the pace of the story slows down a lot of times and as much as some of the other characters were developed, I could see greater development still being done or more side plots being created to compensate for the rather slow pace of the story sometimes. Still though, fascinating book to listen to and you really do get a sense that you are in a magical place...

    46 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Danehy 09-20-11
    L. Danehy 09-20-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonder and Curiousity"

    I just finished the Night Circus. The story style reminded me a little of Neil Gaiman, who I think is a wonderful writer in the genre of the "curiousier and curiousier." This story weaves around you from the start, and in the end leaves you wishing to open your mind to all sorts of possibilities. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    61 of 67 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pam West Covina, CA, United States 09-21-11
    Pam West Covina, CA, United States 09-21-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Magic"

    A complex story, it goes from locations in time to locations in the world. It is a story of love and of hubris. There are secrets that have you hanging- why? what is going on? It is a real world, fully realized, of things that cannot exist, but do. Add to that Mr. Dale's inimitable style and voice characterizations, and this is a winner. This is one of my best books of the year- audio or written.

    40 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 04-18-12
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 04-18-12 Member Since 2008

    caffeinated

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something about this book bothered me."

    It was a pleasant diversion. And well crafted. But for some reason, I was not pulled into this book as others have been. Jim Dale's performance, as usual, was great. But perhaps I would have liked it more if it had been read by a woman. Maybe the thing that bothers me most about this book is that the premise was more mechanical than emotional. Maybe I did not cotton to the rather cryptic and largely unexplained (until the end, and even then not very well explained) bargain struck at the beginning of the book. Maybe the characters were less than three-dimensional. Maybe it just felt like it was made up as it went along ??? like a children's impromptu story. I don't know. All I do know is that The Night Circus did not thrill me. And I really did want to be thrilled.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne Springfield, MA, United States 10-18-11
    Jeanne Springfield, MA, United States 10-18-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Major disappointment"

    This book has gotten very sterling reviews, so I found myself surprised by the strength of my dislike for it. In my view, it was a series of descriptions of the very "magical" circus connected by an undercooked plot. As for the love story--both characters were so dull, I had little interest in what became of them. Even though the word magical appeared countless times in this book, I found it was far from it.

    36 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Everett, WA, United States 01-31-13
    Karen Everett, WA, United States 01-31-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It felt really disconnected. Disappointing."

    This book had come highly recommended to me by friends, and it's certainly in a genre/era that I enjoy. I read a lot of victorian era fantasy fiction and, usually, I enjoy it immensely. This book, however, was always just a little off the mark. Character development was, presumably, sacrificed for setting development which, ultimately, gave the whole piece a rather hollow feel. There was also a lack of consistency in the characters... It was difficult to determine who were the pro- and antagonists. You found yourself rooting for a character one minute and finding them distasteful in the next. The back story was never really hammered into place, giving everything a rather hazy, made up sort of feel. Reveals were too brief and, as a result, anticlimactic. Possibly the most frustrating thing is that, for a book that supposedly takes place in the late 1800 and 1900's, the romantic relationship between the two protagonists feels uncomfortably modern, bordering on a new age, tantric-y, hipsterish vibe that seems strangely out of place. Likewise, while the IDEA behind the circus seems intriguing and fraught with possibility, much of the descriptions of the attractions/performers sound like the author had recently gone to a Cirque du Soleil show and then wrote what she saw into the narrative. Again... That uncomfortably contemporary feel that felt laid onto the era, rather than emanating from within it.

    All in all, I think this author has potential. I think she just probably needs more practice and she should, perhaps, consider writing from within an era that she's actually familiar with. This story had potential too but, alas, that's too late to really be realized. From a performance perspective, Jim Dale did a solid, thorough job here, even if sounding a bit too bumpkinish for some of the more "elite" roles in this book. I am not likely to listen to this again.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
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