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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    8,743
  • 4 Stars
    4,184
  • 3 Stars
    1,886
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    2,986
  • 3 Stars
    925
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    7,782
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    632
  • 1 Stars
    382
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Listen

Would you consider the audio edition of The Night Circus to be better than the print version?

Yes Jim Dale is a magician

What did you like best about this story?

ever since i was a kid i have been in love with the circus. its super atmospheric

Which scene was your favorite?

it is almost impossible to pick just one.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the moments between celcia and marco have stuck with me. their interplay is like a slow competitive dance

Any additional comments?

it was a total driveway moment. i'm soo impressed that this is the author's debut

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Walked a marathon with this book

I walked 26.2 miles listening to this book - that means it has to be riveting or I was gong to be bored. This is a terrific book - well written, beautifully narrated and so elegantly magical that it easily takes you to another place. It has been compared to Harry Potter but it has more lyricism than Harry Potter although the imaginative characters and escapades are competitive. It is a solid, well crafted and thoughtful. A must read.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Stephanie
  • SPRING, TX, United States
  • 02-01-12

Excrutiatingly slow

I really wanted to like this book, but it was excruciatingly slow! I listened to it on Audible and the book was broken into two 7-hour parts. When I finally got to the second part, the action got started, but by then I was just ready for it to be over.

I really had a problem with Jim Dale's narration, too. I loved him reading the Harry Potter series, but for some reason he read this one in a sing-songy voice where every sentence, whether declarative, exclamatory, or interrogative, sounded like a question. At one point while listening in the car I actually yelled at my radio, "Shut up!!" and hit the off button.

Add to that the book was written in the present tense which also left me on edge, and this was not an enjoyable experience. Ok, I'm done with the whining and I'm on to the next book as quickly as I can!

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Leah
  • Oakland, CA, United States
  • 10-24-11

Disapointed

This was disappointing, I guess just not my style. I accidentally skipped ahead 3 hours and didn't even notice for another hour. It just wasn't a clear story or really all that compelling.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Shockingly Good

This is a book of fantasy that truly leaves the pack behind. I haven't read a story like this in years and cannot recommend it highly enough. It will refresh your soul.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dayle
  • Hoover, Al, United States
  • 05-03-15

Meh

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I tried. I really did. After halfway thru I gave up. It just did not grab me. I kept waiting for something to coalesce with the story, the characters, but it just left me with loose ends. Great premise. Great characters, but too muddy for my taste. Im aware that not all readers are the same, and obviously many loved it. Fantastic narration....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Colorful but lost me.

The idea sounded fun. The language and descriptions were amazing. But the story lost me. Would return it but it has been over a year since I tried to finish it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • TG
  • 10-18-13

Boring book without plot

Jim Dale's narration is the only thing I enjoyed about this book.
There was no plot. I didn't care or feel for any of the many characters in the story. I read the endlessly descriptive book waiting for the promised competition or "story" to begin. If the competition was to be the center of the story or if anything interesting happed at all to warrant all the positive feedback this book gets in review, I must have been asleep. Save your credit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Magical

What a fun and creative story! The narration was perfect and it threw me into the depths of this amazing world without as much as a bump in the road. Not to give too much away, but the love story is one for the ages. I felt the pace of the story was perfect and the descriptions or the circus were well suited for the imagination. It is a bit heavy for young readers, I am not sure what a good age would be to read this, but for adults this is a must read (listen).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Eugenia
  • Chatsworth, CA, US
  • 05-06-13

Some Magical, Some Not So Magical

There is a lot to enjoy in this book, but also much that fell flat despite my expectations especially after reading the glowing reviews.

The Magical:

Descriptions of the circus were truly amazing. How beautifully written it was with the sights and sounds and especially, the smells. How unique to focus on the scents and how powerful it created the reality.

Overall the writing was very well done.

The Not-So-Magical:

While many reviewers were taken by the depth of the characters, I found just the opposite. For the most part, they were pretty one dimensional as they interacted with each other and in the realm of the circus.

The competition went nowhere. A huge build-up throughout the book that I expected to culminate in an apocalypse of some kind, but only quietly and gently ended.

And I had no idea about Jim Dale narrating the Harry Potter series, but I found this book to be very reminiscent of Harry Potter in tone and style.

But this last point seems to differ with every other reviewer. I found Jim Dale's narration to be rather difficult to hear the story or the characters. His tone sounded sinister and I kept hearing sinister characters and bad things about to happen. His voice especially for the female characters was terrible. Sorry.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful