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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction

In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers, and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the rêveurs - the dreamers.

At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter’s daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer’s apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love....

A fabulous, fin-de-siècle feast for the senses and a life-affirming love story, The Night Circus is a captivating novel that will make the real world seem fantastical and a fantasy world real.

©2011 Erin Morgenstern (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Aaron
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • 07-13-12

All style, no substance. Hours of blah, blah, blah

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

The narrator (Jim Dale) seems to have the perfect voice for this novel. <br/>Until he tries to do the various accents and female voices. His accents are terrible and his female voices sound like cross dressing lumberjacks. Distracting to say the least. <br/>The story itself is boring and very slow. It's nothing but tone setting and creating images, the plot is almost non exsistant and secondary.

What could Erin Morgenstern have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Plot first, THEN atmosphere.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jim Dale’s performances?

No. His reading is very good but his character voices and attempts at accents are distracting and embarrassing.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Night Circus?

I never listen to abridged versions, no matter how many filler chapters there are. If you deleted the droning tone setting scenes from this book it would be at least 50% shorter.

Any additional comments?

Strictly for flakes. The blurb for this book is very deceptive, almost nothing happens.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • Roma, Australia
  • 05-01-14

Loved it

What made the experience of listening to The Night Circus the most enjoyable?

It was so different to any other story I've read/heard. I could imagine the colours and how awesome it would be to make into a movie.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I didn't have a favourite, I was very intrigued as to how they each had importance in the story.

What about Jim Dale’s performance did you like?

Yep

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee-Ann
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 08-19-13

Enchanting

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it is a complete fantasy world that lets you escape from the boring reality!

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jim Dale?

Probably

If you could rename The Night Circus, what would you call it?

Black and White and Red All Over

Any additional comments?

Simply great! I wanted to listen to it all day!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Literary Tapestry

You’re walking aimlessly through a bookshop looking for a new read. You don’t quite know what you are looking for but you feel as though you’ll recognize it when you see it…

I recognized The Night Circus the second I saw it as something I needed to read. Whether I would enjoy or even finish it I wasn’t sure but something told me that I needed to at least try.

This is not an easy book to define but I’ll do my best. It’s essentially two interwoven stories, one tells the tale of a boy visiting the circus each year or so when it passes through his town. He makes friends with two of the children who work in the circus with a charming kitten show and together they explore all the amazing wonders of the circus and it’s seemingly infinite number of tents. One holds a winter wonderland of snow and ice, another simply holds a bowl of perfect black stones that take away your tears for a night. From incredible to subtly beautiful the boy of course falls in love with the circus so the rest of the world is merely a grey blur in comparison.

The other story is that of the two magicians who created and are still creating the great circus. Marco and Celia are in love and though they met as adults they have been in love their whole lives, writing love letters to one another through each magical tent they create. But they are merely pawns in a bigger, darker game played between Celia’s father and Marco’s mentor. The two lovers have been pitted against each other in a battle of wills and power, a battle to the death.

The Night Circus is not for everyone. It doesn’t read like your usual linear story in fact it reads rather like a painting or rather one of those long tapestries. I’m not sure I would want to read too many stories written this way, but this was so beautifully constructed that I could possibly enjoy a few like it.

One thing I think I should mention - The narration didn't quite do this story justice. I can't really fault the narrator BUT I can't help but think this story would have been more enjoyable if read by an English lady.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Brenda
  • Gauteng, South Africa
  • 12-03-12

A thrilling read!

Would you listen to The Night Circus again? Why?

Absolutely. The story is intricately and beautifully entwined with mystery and love. It's so jam packed with imagination and imagery, it's like watching a movie in your own head.

What did you like best about this story?

The imagery in this book is remarkable.

What about Jim Dale’s performance did you like?

Jim Dale captured the different accents very well. Even the slightest change in nuance made it immediately obvious which character he was playing.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A deluge of dreams, mystery and love.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Atmospheric presentation and original storyline

I was not sure what to expect having only read the reveiws of this book. It was a slow start and initially the narrators voice did not seem to suit, but after a while it began to become familiar and by the end I could not imagine an alternative. The story line is unusual and the descriptions are vivid but the plotline is rather convoluted and I would have preferred a more dramatic ending. But all in all very enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Damien
  • Crouton Park, Australia
  • 01-17-12

A poor tale nicely read

Would you try another book from Erin Morgenstern and/or Jim Dale?

Jim Dales reading was excellent. The novel failed to deliver on the expectations it set.

What could Erin Morgenstern have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Delivered on the promise of the novel. The reader is kept waiting for some sort of resolution, instead we are literally presented with a whole passage on how there are no longer any good stories (or are there).

Have you listened to any of Jim Dale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was The Night Circus worth the listening time?

No

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

Really magical story! I wonderful journey through Creation binding the mythic nature of being with the pure love and hope of Creation

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interesting premise and description, but fails

to land any emotional punches. Beautiful but superficial. Most of the book feels like the introduction to the grand event, but the grand event never happens. Instead there are just a series of smaller events that wind things up without solid answers to many of the questions that I had.

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Transformed from a great read to an excellent listen

One of my favourite books in 2013 and now the magical story comes to life again in this audio book. Can't recommend this highly enough.

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  • Moominmamma
  • 08-17-13

A comic book in wolf's clothing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. I would be a bit embarrassed to recommend it. I was totally intrigued by the synopsis of this book, a tall tale about a spectacular and enchanting circus, real magic and a fatalistic wager, it was beautifully conceived but the writer seemed to not to be quite up to the task. Set in the late 1800's, the characters, their behaviour, their language even their dress was all wrong for the time and they all lacked depth. The plot, I gradually came to realise, was a bit thin and the setting was so contrived it became irritating, with too much focus on monochrome (yes, I get it!!) and kittens. This would make a good graphic novel or fantasy film. So...whilst it wasn't bad, it was just not good enough.

If you’ve listened to books by Erin Morgenstern before, how does this one compare?

I haven't encountered her books before.

What aspect of Jim Dale’s performance might you have changed?

I feel this story needed a darker, richer, an altogether more lyrical voice.

Do you think The Night Circus needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

There wasn't enough substance in this for one book, let alone two.

Any additional comments?

I really loved the idea of this book but alas, it was all show and disappointment.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Rozemarijn
  • 02-04-17

Nice idea but very superficial

The ideas are very interesting but the story stays at the surface. It takes a long time to unfold and it barely manages that. Also the fragmented chapters don't help. Really a pity there wasn't much depth or development since the first time meeting the citcus was enchanting.

Also the narator does some really akward voices.

I had to make myself finish this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul Snook
  • 05-15-16

The Magic Arrives Without Warning

I should admit to a little bias in this review because The Night Circus is one of my all-time favourite books and I feel that this audiobook does do it justice.

It is a love story above else, but a love story on many levels. A love story between a man and a woman, a love story between the performers and their circus, a love story between the circus and its ardent fans. And then there is the magic. To say more would start to give too much away but it is a fantastical tale written fantastically well.

If I were to quibble with anything about this audiobook it with the performance. Jim Dale does read it beautifully but, when you have previously read the book yourself, you tend to have an idea of how various characters sound. So to hear Prospero and Mr A.H. sound like two bickering Yorkshiremen is a bit of a surprise, especially when I had always considered Prospero to be from the opposite side of the Pond.

That aside, you would not go far wrong if you wish to immerse yourself in a magical fantasy where anything seems possible and the real world a disappointment in comparison.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-13-12

A Victorian Surrealist Romance

This book provides an enchanting journey into the world of a traveling Victorian circus, The length of the book is filled with such enchanting wordplay and enthralling descriptions that every new circus tent is an absolute pleasure, The brilliantly written and read characters are warm and comforting and the complete package leaves very little to be desired.



A fine purchase for any fan of magic, love or a reality based fantasy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janice
  • 01-09-12

My kind of circus

Wonderfully complex story, full of detail, clear pictures of the unusual, and a nice interweaving of times and dates that came together satisfyingly in the end. Some surprises, some predictability, but all in all a good holiday read. Except for the narrator, oh dear, he did the "ancient mage" voice with all the weight of dusty centuries in it, but the young men, female and the childrens voices were quite dreadfully croaky. If you can get past the narrator you'll enjoy the story for its own sake.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • GoodL
  • 02-03-16

Wonderful story but ruined by choice of narrator

Would you try another book written by Erin Morgenstern or narrated by Jim Dale?

I am hoping Erin Morgenstern will write another book! I will read it though, not listen...

What did you like best about this story?

A wonderful, magical story that draws you in and keeps you there until long after you've finished the book. I read this book a few years ago and was tempted by the audible version as I had loved it so much.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's voice unfortunately is too "old" and gravelly. It suits the two older characters in the book but not the main characters who are young. I actually gave up on the audio-book about half way though and read my paperback instead. It took me a while to get the narrator's voice out of my head but once I had I enjoyed it much more!

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Definitely!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • carol
  • 12-23-12

Magical, mysterious and captivating

I never thought I would listen to a book more than once but this one was so full of delectable detail that I was compelled to listen to it three times to date!

It was full of fascinating characters, interesting ideas and delightful thoughts but strangely edgy which all added to a kind of Victorian,vaguely Steampunk atmosphere.

I also loved the HGWells type attention to detail and how you were lead by the nose through a labyrinth of twisting and turning themes and ideas. The magic, mystery and slight of hand held my interest all the way. If you like unusual you may enjoy the Night Circus

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • colin
  • 01-20-13

a masterpiece

Quite the most mysterious, magical and remarkable book i have read in a long time. A spell is cast and reader is drawn into the plot. Original and unique I hope to see more from this super talented author.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Suzan
  • 05-19-12

magical

This is an eerily beautiful novel. It has a compelling story, dark sense of humour and, it is easy to detect by the sheer glee in which the writer unfolds the story, that she enjoyed writing it as much as I enjoyed listening to it. I recommend! x

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Frankieg3
  • 02-02-14

A Beautiful Book - A Lifetime Favourite !!!

I have now listened to this book three times and I love it. It has enthralled me each time I have listened to it.

The narration is brilliant but it is of a level I expect from Jim Dale who is a fantastic actor. He certainly brings out the nuances of the characters. This is going to be one of my lifetime favourites.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Van Vo
  • 07-07-16

Amazing

Absolutely magical story. Loved it. Have recommended to many people who also feel the same way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sian Greening
  • 07-06-16

Disappointing narration of a wonderful novel

I have read this novel when it was fist published and found it a wonderfully rich, lyrical tale. The narration of the audible edition did not at all suit the character of the book. Jim Dale adopted a slurred wheezing voice for many of the characters, including that of the hero, Marco. The twins Poppet and Widget were in particular given accents that made the pair of them sound like old country folk instead of young vibrant kids trying to save their beloved circus. It was so disagreeable to listen to that I have had to abandon the attempt and will instead reread the book myself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcia Graetz
  • 05-06-16

Amazing book

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • P R Kilpatrick
  • 12-08-15

Magical

Truly a great tale gripping from start to finish. I highly recommend it. It'll have you spell bound.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • michelle
  • 11-28-15

mystery and magic

a story of great imagina5and intelligence . syrely one of the classics of this genre

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Simone
  • 08-28-17

Good but rushed

Really enjoying this story, loved the descriptions of the circus and all the wonder that comes along with it. But felt like some of character development was a bit rushed so made it hard to care what happened to some characters. But still overall an enjoyable story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-17

Wonderful

The Night Circus was captivating from start to finish. Beautifully read by Jim Dale, I loved every minute.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-20-17

The Night Circus

I have read this book 4 times before, but listening to the audio opened up a whole new perspective of the story.
The narrator brought the characters to life vibrantly & as always, I adore the tale.

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  • ros
  • 03-07-17

well worth the read

entrancing and thought provoking, an excellent book, and well read! I have recommended it to some serious book readers

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  • Dawn Rodgers
  • 12-30-16

interesting concept

Not my favorite story. I did persevere but am pleased to be finished. I think it was simply not my style. The performance was very good but I think better suited to a female reader.