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Book Reviews of The Night Circus

The Night Circus
The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
ISBN-13: 9780345803542
ISBN-10: 034580354X
Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Pages: 533
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 36

4 stars, based on 36 ratings
Publisher: Anchor Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

59 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

diamondsae82 avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
The Night Circus is and isn't about a circus. It is more about magic than anything else. It is a wondrous tale of a magical competition and an impossible love story.
I didn't really know if this was a book that I would want to read or not. I had seen it several times, but had no idea what it was really about and I only read it for my book group. That being said, this book is excellent. It is very different than most books that I read so it was a nice change of pace.
The story line and writing are unique and intriguing and leave so much to the imagination. I found the beginning to be a bit slow and vague, but it quickly picked up. The story is written in a way that reminded me of the movie Memento. It did take a minute to get used to, but once you start following the dates it all makes sense. There were many times when I wondered what something had to do with the story, but it all makes sense eventually.
The characters in this story are all unique and great. My favorites were the main characters, Marco and Celia. All of the supporting characters are great and each add a special touch to the story making them all essential.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it to everyone.
njmom3 avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1361 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/night-circus.html

The Night Circus is a first novel and a flight of imagination. It is a book of magic, fantasy, and romance. It is the story of Marco and Celia, bound together together in a competition by their guardians before they are even aware of themselves or each other. It is also the story of all those who surround them and effect their competition and a story of the circus itself.

Marco is an orphan adopted by a man known as Alexander. Celia is the daughter of the magician known as Prospero. Alexander and Prospero train their charges to duel in a competition of magical skills in which there can only be one survivor. The reason for the competition between the two is eventually explained towards the end of the book. However, it is not crucial to the book. Wondering about it simply adds to the mystery of the book.

The venue for the challenge is Le Cirque de Reves - The Circus of Dreams - a magical place of black and white unlike any circus I've ever seen. Marco and Celia do not completely know the terms of the game and fall in love. They fight against their destiny of competition. This desire grows stronger especially as the competition effects more and more people. The book builds to a magical conclusion.

"The circus arrives without warning." This is the statement with which the book starts. The book captured me and drew me in without warning. The story moves in circles, parts flowing into each other, much as the descriptions of the circular pathways of the circus. It kept me wondering what was coming around the next curve. The book creates vivid images of the circus and the acts within it. While reading, I thought this would make a wonderful movie. Apparently, others agree with me. Movie rights for the book have already been sold.

The imagery of the book is beautiful. The story is fanciful and beyond belief, yet you believe in it anyways. It does not lend itself to be easily described and must be read to be experienced. I found myself absorbed and had a hard time putting the book down. A great first book. I can't wait to see the movie and see what comes next from Erin Morgenstern.
paisleywings avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 232 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Don't waste your time. It is dull, monotonous, mundane, and just plain boring. The concept is a good idea, a magical circus and its opponents, but it doesn't deliver the goods. The writing is confusing, too many characters to keep track of, and a lot of back in forth in time. I never took so long to complete a book. I even read two other books inbetween because it was so boring. It got one star because the descriptions were good and the idea was great, but it fell flat and disappointing.
susieqmillsacoustics avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1062 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book is more of an atmospheric experience than anything else. It is a complete fantasy of magic, beauty, and underlying darker things.
ARReader avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
My book club read this book also. Out of the 12 of us only 3 really liked the book! The rest of us felt the story line was disjointed. The characters were never strongly developed, and the book was more about someone's weird dream world where time is the background to the age-old feud of good versus evil. Having said that, I am among the 9 who felt this book though creative really lacked the ingredients for a good read.
luv2cnewthings avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
If you need a review to decide if you'd like to read, please keep a few things in mind:
1) It was kind of slow, I enjoyed the last 150 pages better than the first 200; 2) Pay attention to the dates; and 3) An overall good use of the imagination!

If you've read already and are curious about what others thought: 1) Ok, so Good & Evil are not strictly categorized as Black & White. Perhaps that is one of the things that annoyed me most about the book. 2) Didn't think there was much character development. Any takers on this? 3) Some good writing here and there, but wished Ms. Morgenstern held onto it or continued with it.

The one quote that could probably sum up the book: "We are all involved in your game, and it seems we are not as easily repaired as teacups." (Pg. 256)
reviewed The Night Circus on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
What an amazingly original love story set among the magic of the circus. While criticized for a lack of character development, it seemed to me that keeping a conscious distance between the readers and the characters was a well thought out way to maintain the sense that there is more to the people and events of the story than meets the eye. A magician uses visual manipulation to lure the audience into believing whereas Morgenstern had to create that same intensity through her written descriptions of the magic. It's a rare book that engages me from the very first sentence and hangs on until the very last page...and it makes me want to believe that we're all capable of such powerful acts of illusion. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something refreshingly unique.
ophelia99 avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I got an eGalley of this book from the publisher for review. This was an absolutely magical book. It was beautiful and wondrous; a story that absolutely captured my imagination and drew me in.

The Night Circus, Le Cirque des Rêves, is magical and mysterious. It appears completely set up and is only open at night. Sometimes the things that take place inside it are a bit too magical. What the innocent circus attendee doesn't know is that the Night Circus is actually an arena for a competition going on between two magicians. Celia and Marcus have been forced to study magic from a very young age; their masters used very different methods of teaching. Then the masters bound Celia and Marcus into a competition to prove which student was the best.

This book is told from a number of perspectives. Parts are shown to you from your perspective as an attendee of the Night Circus and parts from various characters who participate in the circus. The majority of the book switches between Marcus's and Celia's story; with occasional interruptions by Isobel.

The descriptions of the Night Circus and the attractions there are absolutely magical. Morgenstern writes in such a way that the tents come alive, mysterious and sparkling, in the reader's mind. The premise of the book and the descriptions within the book are so creative and interesting. I am not sure how Morgenstern thought up some of these things but I am glad she did because they were absolutely wonderful to read about.

The book is incredibly well written and while it has a fine literature feel to it, it is still incredibly easy to read and very engaging. I read this book super fast, just because I had to know what was going to happen next. The plot is intricate and very detailed, but never hard to follow.

Next there are the characters. The book is filled with wonderful and quirky characters. Celia and Marcus will both steal the reader's heart; they are absolutely lovable and engaging. The relationship they develop is sweet and complicated because of the lengthy competition they face.

The book ends well and is wrapped up in a creative and surprising way. When you think back to the story after reading the book, you realize how well planned out the plot was and how so many intricate things were woven together to make this wonderful story.

Overall this was just a fabulous book. I really enjoyed every little last thing about it. The plot was intricate, the description beautiful, and just such a creative idea. The atmosphere of the book is magical and mysterious throughout, but always engaging and easy to read. Marcus and Celia are very engaging characters who are easy to love, they travel an interesting path together. I really think everyone should give this book a read. It is the type of book that should appeal to a wide audience and is appropriate for young adult and older. If you love magic and mystery in a historical setting this is definitely a must read. I will be watching out for future books from Morgenstern.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Absolutely riveting, captivating, addictive. I was reading it on a vacation in Florida and I couldn't wait to get back to it at every moment possible. I'm not a fan of the circus or of magic and I thought the book would disappoint. However, this is not a circus in any earthly sense, but a timeless love story and a story of rivalry; it has visual descriptions that are fascinating. Imagining the "special effects" in this book is better than actually seeing anything a Hollywood studio could produce.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Love love love this book! I could not put it down! it is an absolute MUST READ
tigerbunny avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this book. I had a hard time putting it time. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.
smith-jones avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved it! It's hard to believe this is the author's first novel. The magic, the theatrics, the visual and sensory details that rushed through me as I read the story were profound. I was expecting a battle of wands and lighting bolts and crashing elements and instead I was regaled with sophistication, delicacy and poetry transformed into enchanted pavilions that told a story o evolving love, ethereal suspense and eventually sacrifice. Although love was not at the forefront at all, it was just part of it as the scent of the caramel popcorn at the entrance of the courtyard to the circus.

The conclusion if fulfilling although not fully materialized as your ordinary happy ending but it's there left as a precious crystal gem that is better off left to the shimmer of the imagination.

The book went beyond my expectations and it is stands right now as my first #1 of my 2013 read list.
sfc95 avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 686 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a slow moving book. I hated the ending, the story itself, although way outside my normal genre, is compelling. It introduces several characters, they have great depth, but really it was a waste of my time and a lot of time!
reviewed The Night Circus on + 1436 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A little dark but very good. It's magic coupled with two egotist magicians who control the destiny of the night circus through two young talented magicians who fall in love, Marco and Celia. They are in competition - a competition which can end only when one of the magicians is defeated by death. An orphan, Marco was adopted by the man in the grey suit, Alexander. Celia's father is the famous magician Prospero who is known far and wide. Le Cirque de Reves, The Circus of Dreams, which opens at dark is the stage. the author creates such a magical imagery for this fanciful story that you feel as if you are walking among those viewing the circus and its wonderful acts. Some die as a result of the competition but the love between Marco and Celia creates such atmosphere that I was sorry to see the last pages of this first time effort by a talented young author.
redwingsgal avatar reviewed The Night Circus on
Helpful Score: 1
You know those books you either love or hate? This is one of them.

My book club was divided, with a few people who loved it, a few who hated it, and a majority who were glad they read it but wouldn't be willing to read it again. Personally, I didn't care for it and barely managed to finish.

The book has an interesting premise and scenes are often well-written and imaginative. Descriptions of the unique circus attractions were absolutely fantastic! They felt fresh and appealing.

However, for me, those details were overwhelmed by irritants. The biggest one is a timeline that bounces back and forth among many decades. Keeping the events in order can be challenging. Motivations for several of the characters are also murky. It seems like the author wanted to create complex characters, but managed instead to create some characters who lacked in internal logic and consistency. Also, details matter. The sheer number of details and the drawn out plot progression can make for a LOOOOONG read.

The bottom line is if you tend to get lost in the details, it would probably be fine. If you prefer books where you can see characters progressing, this may prove annoying. Fair warning!
reviewed The Night Circus on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Writing for the New York Times Book Review, Stacey D'Erasmo perfectly captured my personal reaction to this book: one is "continually being told how magical the circus and its denizens are without ever being truly surprised, enchanted, or beguiled." It's a lovely little novel, well written and passably entertaining, but I found all the hyperbole surrounding it to be overblown. Nothing described in the book seemed terribly unusual or unexpected. Because the time-shifting device wasn't at all necessary to the tale, it served only as a confusing contrivance. The bits and pieces of stories that are doled out throughout the book set up the reader to expect an integrated finale in which all is revealed and tied together, but instead, much is left unresolved and unexplained. Apart from her repeated comma splices, which I found irritating, the author is a talented writer. However, the overall effect of this novel as a whole is shallow and unsatisfying.
Eudial avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really really liked the concept of this book, but it sure does take a while to get going and it literally took me three months to read because it didn't spur me on. All of the characters are nice and the prose is definitely glossy and stylish but nothing in particular grabbed me emotionally. I felt like I wanted more details about how the magic worked but I got surface interactions between characters I didn't feel strongly toward. I do feel like the last maybe 100 pages are really good though! And the ending is very satisfying.
author-wwiinovel avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
To quote a famous sportscaster: âOh, my!â This fascinating and delicious novel by Erin Morgenstern is a must-read for all lovers of tales that contain wonderful love stories (it has two!); tales of magic and magicians, circuses and carnivals, miracles and murder. It is eerie, supernatural, mysterious, and moving. It is a story of unscrupulous magicians and wonderful wizards. It has jaw-dropping moments and lump-in-the-throat moments. You will love the characters (except for a couple of them!). Make this tale of ambition and self-sacrifice the next read on your list.
Yoni avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 327 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a magical book that whisks you away to the circus of your dreams. Well, my dreams anyway....along with a romantic love story and quirky characters, I could not help but love this. I am not a big reader of fantasy, but this was just delicious.
BigGreenChair avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 453 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Beautifully written, delightful and imaginative to read.
reviewed The Night Circus on
Helpful Score: 1
A fairy tale like love story for adults. Didn't want to put it down . . .
TXGrobanite avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 270 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really wanted to like this book. I got to chapter 3 and was still confused about what was going on. I know a lot of people have liked this book but not my cup of tea.
Phantene avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It took me forever to read this book, and at times I even considered just putting it down, but I finally finished it. I didn't care about any of the characters at all, and I found the skipping back and forth between dates to be distracting. I do believe this story would probably make a good movie. I think Ms. Morganstern should have passed on writing a book and just written a screenplay instead.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is about an unusual circus that opens at nightfall and closes at dawn. This is not your ordinary circus. Instead of a red white striped big top, youll find everything is either black or white. Instead of one giant tent, there are many tents, each with unique and amazing acts or interactive displays youre not likely to find at the Ringling Brothers. There is the ice garden, an enchanting place with sparkling frozen trees and blossoms. Theres a labyrinth with a bizarre network of rooms: stacks of suitcases, floating feathers, an albino sphinx, and snow. Theres a tent with a sign that states Please enter cautiously and feel free to open what is closed. Inside jars and bottles in all shapes and sizes line a table. They contain sensations, sounds, and evoke images. But the spectacular circus itself is just a sideshow to the main storyline. Two men make a wager. They each train a protégé to become the greatest magician of all time. Marco and Celia spend a lifetime learning their trade, each taught in contrasting styles. They know they are in a competition, but they dont know the rules or the prize. Its all mysterious. What enfolds is an intriguing tale of imagination and surrealism, which was mostly well received with my book club. Criticism of the book included that it was slow at times and could be a tad confusing, especially with regards to Celias fathers condition and even the ending. Most of us agreed that it is not a book we might have chosen to read on our own, but turned out to be intriguing. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
danelleb avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 19 more book reviews
"The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not."

Inside the black and white maze of tents known as 'Le Cirque des Reves', is a world that is exhilarating and mysterious and intoxicating all at once. The circus is only open at night; it contains only the colors black and white; and, it is a place full of magic. But all that goes on at the night circus is not known to everyone. Two magicians, Marco and Celia, are competing in a duel. Trained from a very young age to take part in this magical duel to the death, the two end up falling in love. They learn that their actions have severe consequences for the circus.

Erin Morgenstern has written a fairytale of sorts for adults and has stayed true to that fairytale form - for all the light and magic, there is also darkness. The story of the mystical circus that arrives unannounced and opens only at sunset, is both complex and beautiful. The story is told in the same way the new tents appear in the night circus, popping up here and there amongst already established ones and becoming a part of the whole circus seamlessly - here is a part, now here is another one...

Morgenstern has written the story explaining the magical without giving the magic away.
dcradish avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 3 more book reviews
My book club read this, and out of 8 members, we were split 50/50 on like/hated. Me? I disliked the book. Monstrously long drawn out descriptions.Dinner parties - for what purpose - fabric in gowns - changing color - who cares - the clock - didn't seem to have a real purpose and most of all the competition. To me it was never developed, never made sense, was quite destructive and never came to a conclusion. What was the purpose? Two antagonistic old men? Poppet and Widget - useless characters. Caramel running down Widget's face all the time......come on!Ish! The Burgess sisters? What did they add and why did one get killed by the train? For what purpose to the story? Celia and Marco love story? Did not click for me.
Grazona avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 119 more book reviews
This is an absolutely beautiful book. The writing is vivid and poetic, the imagery is gorgeous. I found all the characters to be intriguing and their stories wound together wonderfully. The love story component fit in perfectly and was so compelling, I found myself holding my breath at times, waiting to see what happened next. On one hand I wanted a more finite ending but on the other, I think it's fitting that the circus goes on indefinitely. I highly recommend this book for anyone who simply loves to read and enjoys a good story.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 2 more book reviews
Tried and tried but could not get through this book. Not my type of story. Hard to remember the characters, hard to stay focused.
linsey avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 9 more book reviews
This is the first book in a long time that I actually had to pace myself as I neared the end because I didn't want to finish.

The author's writing completely transports you to the time(s) and place(s) in the book. Night Circus is amazingly well written, and has a fairy-tale-like quality that makes me miss having the imagination that us adults seem to lose once we are not children anymore.
reviewed The Night Circus on
i loved this book!

It has romance,mystery,suspense,fantasy and heart.

I was sad when it came to an end.
daylily77 avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 236 more book reviews
I absolutely adored this novel. The characters, the story and the execution were utterly enchanting. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys magic, fantasy and a little romance. Rumor has it this will be made into a movie. I would gladly spend money to see this put into film. This will be a magical movie!
bekadance avatar reviewed The Night Circus on
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read4fun avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 30 more book reviews
I loved this book, mostly because it does not flow in chronological order. Often the only way to notice the time change was by catching the date in the chapter title since chapters bounced from the point of view of different characters. It is full of mystery, magic, and love.
TakingTime avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1072 more book reviews
Illusions and mystery...great book.
dizz avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 625 more book reviews
This book is entirely written in present tense. If you find this an annoying affectation, as I do, it may affect your enjoyment of this novel. Other than that, it was different and interesting and I did enjoy it.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 10 more book reviews
Loved this book! So colorful, descriptive, imaginative.....really, I can't wait to get the hardcover version to add to my extensive library. Not sure why anyone wouldn't be charmed by this book. I guess if you have a short attention span and a bad memory (there are lots of characters) then maybe it wouldn't be your thing.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 412 more book reviews
May not be everyone's cup of tea, but I adored this book!! Completely transported my mind to another world--and if that's not entertainment, what is??
reviewed The Night Circus on + 30 more book reviews
The premise of this book is fascinating but the book is no good. I could not even get through the first 50 pages. What a disappointment.
justreadingabook avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1710 more book reviews
I loved this book. I understand it is not everyone's cup of cocoa. I enjoyed the magic of the circus and how it became important to everyone who encountered it. The magic that the circus contains is being paid for at a large cost. The suspense and vagueness of some of the characters lends to the intrigue, you as a reader get to imagine and wonder at the motives of them. The imagery is beautiful and will take you right through the gates and into it's magic. I look forward to more from this author.
MKSbooklady avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 944 more book reviews
This book is not just about a circus that opens at night. It is a mystery, love story, thriller, all rolled into one magical tale. What would you do to win a contest? The biggest contest of your life? A haunting and mystical read.
dianedo avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 6 more book reviews
I loved this book! It kept me hooked from the very beginning I actually finished it in one afternoon because I couldn't put it down! The descriptions, characters and creativity are like nothing I've ever read before. What a great first novel.
fullybooked avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 61 more book reviews
Enchanting and engaging story. Nice to read a novel with some originality for a change.
soelo avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 23 more book reviews
I loved this book, but it is hard to pinpoint why. The real world and the fantastic overlap in a believable way. The descriptions of the atmosphere of the circus were rich and detailed without getting tedious. The plot is not strictly linear, but it does follow a certain logic. Except for the antagonists, all of the characters are likeable or at least admirable without being Pollyannas.
chickerific avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 30 more book reviews
I read this book and liked it. I listened to the audio version on a driving trip and loved it. The story is like a dream and the best way to experience this is through the audio version. It is love story wrapped in a fantasy. I urge you to give listening to this book a try.
nic03red avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 38 more book reviews
I understand why some readers said they didn't enjoy the book. At first, it was very hard for me to get into. It just couldn't capture my attention, and it was a little confusing at first trying to figure out what was going on. However, I kept reading and once the circus started, I feel like the story really picked up pace. That's when it hooked me and I started to enjoy the story. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. It was a little confusing because the chapters go back and forth to different years. I found myself having to flip back to the beginning of chapters when reading to remind myself where I was in the storyline. I would recommend to readers to give the book a chance. If you can't get into the story initially, try reading up to them forming the circus. It gets better!
virago avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 267 more book reviews
This book was a big ball of confusion for me. I'm not really sure that I was ever certain what was going on. For a good bit I thought two separate characters were one character pretending to be two different people. It was kind of a mess in that respect, for me at least.

That being said, while I was confused throughout most of the story, I was also fascinated by it. I'm not sure what drew me in, but even in my perplexed state, I was eager to read more, to see what what happen next.

I enjoyed the protagonists Celia and Marco, hated the antagonists Alexander and Hector, and pretty much all of the side characters endeared themselves to me. I loved the circus. It was magical--literally and figuratively-- and romantic. As one character stated it was basically love letters from Marco and Celia to one another. It was so sweet and utterly sad at the same time. They were thrown together in a complicated competition without their consent, which started when they were children (so they wouldn't have been able to make an informed choice anyway) and lasted well into adulthood. So many other innocent bystanders were dragged into this twisted game concocted by ridiculous men who clearly thought much too highly of themselves, but were too cowardly to fight it out on their own. They did this with no thought or care as to how it would effect the participants or the non-participates that were swept up in the game. And the sacrifices that had to be made in order to end the game were just heart-wrenching, if a little romantic.

The author is clearly a mad genius for concocting and bringing the tale to life--even if I was completely befuddled. But in the end, I can't really decide whether I loved or hated it. I think a future re-read may tip the scales one way or the other. I think the fact that I want to reread this in the future is telling (I probably really love it.) For now I will just say, the story was definitely captivating.
spartacusaby avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 81 more book reviews
Hard to categorize, almost impossible to put down: I loved this book! The imagery is marvelous and the novel utterly enchanting.
barbsis avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1076 more book reviews
interesting. strange. bizarre.

The Enchanter, Hector Bowen and mystery man, Alexander hatch some kind of plan to pit their protege's against one another in a challenge which only ends in the death of one of the combatants. Of course, the protege's know nothing of this caveat and fall in love, thwarting the game, or so they thought.

Celia Bowen, Hector's daughter is an illusionist (magician) and Alexander grabs a boy from an orphanage and spends years training him for the challenge. Neither Celia nor Marco know who their opponent is or when the challenge will start or end. When the circus is started by Chandresh Christophe LeFevere, Marco is hired as his assistant and Celia is immediately hired as their illusionist. Marco's job is stationary in London while Celia travels with the circus. They compete by creating mysterious and exciting circus tents which stun and amaze all visitors - the ice garden, the drawing room, the hall of mirrors, etc. Marco creates one to amaze Celia and then Celia tries to top his creation with something she thinks he will love. A long distance romance that somehow works regardless of the troubles challenging them.

It's all very interesting but it's a story that goes nowhere. Alexander is rude and obnoxious; Chandresh has lost his mind; Hector is gone, and yet the challenge continues until somebody wins but no one is actively judging the contest so how will a winner be decided? It's already gone on for 13 years and neither challenger may quit.
donkeycheese avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1255 more book reviews
Le Cirque des Reves is a circus like no other. Manipulating the audience with tricks and illusions brings in many awestruck customers. Prospero the Entertainer is a very experience magician who, not delighted about being a father, takes it in stride when young Celia is dropped on his doorstep.


Celia has the ability to move things with her mind, even at such a young age. Her mom called her the devil's child. Prospero, or Hector as his given name, finds her ability to be a good reason to reach out to his adversary Alexander. Alexander is also a powerful magician and he jumps at the chance to best Prospero again. They make a wager.

Alexander immediately looks for a worthy apprentice. He finds Marco, a quiet child he can train in the arts. As the years pass, Celia and Marco learn what they will need for the ultimate duel. They believe it is a challenge of skill and imagination,, but what they do not realize is that it is until the death.

Marco and Celia fall in love but the duel cannot be denied. It is to be held at a grand and public venue. They have both been bound for thirty years to participate in this duel. There is no way out, or is there? Will Alexander and Prospero get their children to push away their feelings for one another and do what they were raised to do?

The Night Circus is a vibrant and detailed story. Morgenstern has such an imagination, the detail is perfectly wrought, drawing you into this magical world. A clever and solid plot, complex characters, a splash of romance, suspenseful and thrilling, I was entranced.
BaileysBooks avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 491 more book reviews
This is a difficult review to write, so Im going to cheat and use this format instead:

Plot: This is a book about magic and misdirection. It is not an action-packed, spell-slinging thriller but a book about more subtle forms of magic that is set to a decidedly slower pace. It reminded me (vaguely) of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but was nowhere near as polished and it certainly lacked the period authenticity of Ms. Clarkes Victorian-era masterpiece. The relative non-ending, while frustrating, does fit in with the thread of uncertainty that runs throughout the entire novel.

Characters: In truth, Le Cirque des Reves was the best character in the book, and Ms. Morgenstern illustrated the depth, mystery and magic surrounding it beautifully. The remainder of the characters, while interesting, never truly seemed to gain the depths that I would have preferred. I was interested in their stories, but I cannot say that I was unreservedly invested in them. As mentioned earlier, I also don't feel like the characters truly embodied the speech and mannerisms of the era as well as they probably should have.

Writing: It frustrates me when I am distracted from the story because of silly issues with the writing. For example: He waits for an hour after he is certain everyone is asleep, and then another hour for good measure. Though he has become rather proficient at slipping in at abnormal hours, sneaking out is a different matter. That particular use of though was used throughout the novel, but at one point it was used THREE TIMES on the SAME PAGE. Once, I can forgive. Three in a row is asking too much.

Timeline: Ill be honest: the non-chronological timeline served no purpose other than to make things unnecessarily confusing. Instead of creating suspense in the plot, I found that it only served to frustrate me as a reader and to distract me from what should have been a seamless narrative. Instead of adding to my overall reading experience, the mixed-up timelines took something away from me instead.

Overall opinion: Despite some of my petty complaints, I actually did enjoy the book. The air of uncertainty that lingers over every page like a mist is actually very well done. The pace is certainly slow, but that seemed appropriate for the story. People keep trying to nail this book to a category (fantasy, magic, magical realism, a drug-induced dream sequence) but in the end it doesn't really matter what you call it. This was a beautifully imagined, mostly realized story with a few minor hiccups. Overall, my reading experience was good. Its unfortunate that, with only a few minor changes, it could have been truly great.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 56 more book reviews
This is less about plot (although there is an effective plot) or character (although there are characters you can like) and most about gorgeous, compelling description of magic. Don't let that turn you off. Even if you are not thrilled with description, this is done way better, and it will keep you going. I love also that the magic in this book becomes a way of communicating secretly and from afar. That's not a spoiler--don't worry! But it's a charming feature of the book.
sslowe avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 80 more book reviews
It starts very slow and I wasn't sure I was going to stick with it, but it lived up to expectations.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 2 more book reviews
One of my most favorite books. A magical romance.Although most of the circus is " black and white" things are really not what they seem..With that you be the judge!
keli avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 31 more book reviews
Not bad. I didn't like the characters
MaGee avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 43 more book reviews
There is only one word for this novel--Magical!

I do not have room for Keeper Books, however, I am keeping this one. I had it on my TBR for a long time and then swapped it, thinking it wasn't my type of book. Then picked it in a Swap Game a few months ago because I had been seeing it a lot. It was like it was beckoning me to read it.

The reviews are mixed, so my suggestion is to read it and decide for yourself. I am so glad that I did.
reviewed The Night Circus on + 11 more book reviews
Beautifully written, highly imaginative.
perryfran avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 1174 more book reviews
This is a fantasy about two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who are in a contest for which they have been trained since childhood. They are bound to compete in this game until its conclusion by their ageless masters. This all takes place against the backdrop of a very magical circus that arrives at various sites around the globe without warning and is only open after dark. The circus includes various tents with all sorts of magical performers including Celia who performs illusions that are really magic and not some form of trickery. There is also a contortionist who can fold herself into a small box, a mystical fortune-teller, and other wondrous rooms within the circus. This is also the love story of Celia and Marcos who are competing against each other but to what end? And when will the competition end?

Even though I thought this novel was quite enchanting, for some reason, it really didn't grab me. I had a hard time focusing on the story as it was told from various points in the past. I didn't really hate it but I didn't love this novel either. I usually don't care too much for fantasy and this one was no exception. Mild recommendation overall.
BaileysBooks avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 491 more book reviews
This is a difficult review to write, so Im going to cheat and use this format instead:

Plot: This is a book about magic and misdirection. It is not an action-packed, spell-slinging thriller but a book about more subtle forms of magic that is set to a decidedly slower pace. It reminded me (vaguely) of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but was nowhere near as polished and it certainly lacked the period authenticity of Ms. Clarkes Victorian-era masterpiece. The relative non-ending, while frustrating, does fit in with the thread of uncertainty that runs throughout the entire novel.

Characters: In truth, Le Cirque des Reves was the best character in the book, and Ms. Morgenstern illustrated the depth, mystery and magic surrounding it beautifully. The remainder of the characters, while interesting, never truly seemed to gain the depths that I would have preferred. I was interested in their stories, but I cannot say that I was unreservedly invested in them. As mentioned earlier, I also don't feel like the characters truly embodied the speech and mannerisms of the era as well as they probably should have.

Writing: It frustrates me when I am distracted from the story because of silly issues with the writing. For example: He waits for an hour after he is certain everyone is asleep, and then another hour for good measure. Though he has become rather proficient at slipping in at abnormal hours, sneaking out is a different matter. That particular use of though was used throughout the novel, but at one point it was used THREE TIMES on the SAME PAGE. Once, I can forgive. Three in a row is asking too much.

Timeline: Ill be honest: the non-chronological timeline served no purpose other than to make things unnecessarily confusing. Instead of creating suspense in the plot, I found that it only served to frustrate me as a reader and to distract me from what should have been a seamless narrative. Instead of adding to my overall reading experience, the mixed-up timelines took something away from me instead.

Overall opinion: Despite some of my petty complaints, I actually did enjoy the book. The air of uncertainty that lingers over every page like a mist is actually very well done. The pace is certainly slow, but that seemed appropriate for the story. People keep trying to nail this book to a category (fantasy, magic, magical realism, a drug-induced dream sequence) but in the end it doesn't really matter what you call it. This was a beautifully imagined, mostly realized story with a few minor hiccups. Overall, my reading experience was good. Its unfortunate that, with only a few minor changes, it could have been truly great.
LeahG avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 320 more book reviews
Erin Morgenstern has a vivid imagination and it was a delight to read this book and watch her creativity flow.