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The Night Circus
The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
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 Rê...  more », 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.
ISBN-13: 9780385534635
ISBN-10: 0385534639
Publication Date: 9/13/2011
Pages: 387
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 211 ratings
Publisher: Doubleday
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 7
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

diamondsae82 avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
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 + 1233 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
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: 10
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 + 878 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This book is more of an atmospheric experience than anything else. It is a complete fantasy of magic, beauty, and underlying darker things.
luv2cnewthings avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
dizz avatar reviewed The Night Circus on + 538 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.

Book Wiki

Celia Bowen (Primary Character)
Marco Alisdair (Primary Character)
Herr Friedrick Thiessen (Major Character)
Isobel Martin (Major Character)
Winston Murray (Widget) (Major Character)
(Show all 9 People/Characters)
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