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The Night Circus (Vintage Magic) [Hardcover]

Erin Morgenstern
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (967 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Sep 2011 Vintage Magic (Book 5)

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.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (15 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184655523X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846555237
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (967 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist who describes all her work as "fairy tales in one way or another." She has a degree in Theatre from Smith College, an ever-growing collection of jewelry made from skeleton keys, and a cat on her lap. She lives in Massachusetts. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is her first novel.

Product Description


"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

"This must be one of the most beautiful novels of the year. Its die-cut cover, black-edged pages and intricate endpapers attest to the publisher's hopes that Erin Morgenstern's magically minded debut will secure the vast audience left bereft by the conclusion of the Harry Potter chronicles"--The Observer

"Dark and dreamy; a captivating love story"--Stylist Magazine

"Dazzling"--Marie Claire

"Lushly imagined, extremely charming and very, very readable"--Scotland on Sunday

"Morgenstern displays a conjurer's dexterity as she develops her tale, and you'd need a heart of stone not to melt at the melodramatic denouement."--Daily Mail

"The narrative is deft and satisfying, and the author's talent is intriguing"--Times Literary Supplement

"Enchanting, and affecting... I was compelled by the world itself--by its saturated colours and textures, its unexpected smells and tastes. It is--a surprisingly rare thing in fiction--a strikingly beautiful world, in spite of its darkness."--Claire Messud, The Guardian

"Morgenstern's writing, when it comes to magical creations, is delectable, addictive stuff... [it] leaves a tang of smoky caramel in the air as it ends, and an undeniable urge to go to the circus"--The Sunday Times

Book Description

A novel of magic and love that is enchanting readers far and wide with the spectacular power of its imagination.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
194 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Captivating 5 Oct 2011
By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Sometimes a book comes along that will captivate you from the very first page and doesn't let go until you've finished reading it, for me The Night Circus was one of those books. In fact, when I reached the end I was very tempted to turn back to the first page and start reading it again. This has to be the most impressive debut I've read in a long time and I can't wait to see what Erin Morgenstern comes up with next, she has a rich imagination and a beautiful writing style that I'm sure will only improve in future books.

The story of The Night Circus begins with two magicians who both have different ideas on the best way to train an apprentice in the art of magic. They agree to a challenge and decide to pit their trainees against each other in a game that will take years to complete, a challenge that only one of them will survive. Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams) becomes the setting for his duel with Celia and Marco the unwitting pawns in the game with neither of them knowing the rules or even who their opponent is. The plot meanders towards the finish line but this book is all about the journey, the circus itself is a wonderful place to spend time in and is so beautifully described that it's like you're really there. You can see the acrobats and illusionists, you'll smell and taste the popcorn and caramel, you will walk through the labyrinth, spend time in the ice garden and possibly even make a wish at the wishing tree. I don't think I've ever been so fully transported into another world.

The circus wouldn't be the same without it's fantastic cast of characters, everyone from the performers to the reveurs (people who are so captivated by the circus that they follow it from town to town) have their role to play.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic, but a good read nevertheless. 24 Jan 2013
There are some great concepts in here, along with a few elements that could have made this a classic modern novel. However, it kind of peters out two thirds of the way through; never reaching any kind of apex, although all the indicators that it was coming were there. In a way it reminded me of listening to one of REM's lesser known numbers; the song keeps building up to that rock out moment which never arrives.

I also felt that a good few of the more dramatic moments were a bit heavy-handed and tended to come across in an almost soap opera like way; specifically, I found myself nearly rolling my eyes during some of the romantic subplot. Although, that might have just been my own cynical attitude coming through and not the writing.

All in all, The Night Circus is worth a read and I'm glad I picked it up. As I said before, some of the ideas are superb and there's enough going on to keep you interested, but it's by no means a classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
‘Night Circus' is the first book of writer and artist Erin Morgenstern. Immediately after the publication of the book, it became a bestseller in as many as 30 countries where the rights for the book were purchased to be translated. In addition, Summit Entertainment has bought the movie rights, so we can expect that the book will soon come to life on the big screen.

The plot of the book begins with the circus. Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) came without notice. Their black-and-white tents were hiding surprises that are breathtaking and offer entertainment from dusk till dawn. However, the circus is just a cover for the arena in which a duel takes place between two young magicians, Celia and Marco. For the game they were whole life preparing by their teachers the circus will be used as a stage, and the winner will be the one that survives. But there is one small detail that no one counted, and it was the love between Marco and Celia. But despite their feelings the game must go on – because on the final game outcome will depend the fate of all members of the circus.

Reading this novel it is certainly evident that Erin Morgenstern is equally writer and artist. The book is primarily a series of descriptions, images that perfectly blend into a unified whole. Descriptions are incredible, real and alive, and while a book is read a reader can almost hear the applause and the feel the smell of caramel. The author in an interview said that the book was created because she began to write a story that has become boring, and in order to make it interesting she sent characters to the circus. As the circus became a lot more interesting to her, a story about it began. And being the best part of the book, the circus is also its greatest flaw.
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89 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step Right Up! 15 Sep 2011
"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."

So our story begins - the circus just appearing out of the ether as did my advance review copy of this debut novel, much to my delight. The UK edition looks stunning with black edged paper and end papers illustrated with a pattern of bowlers and top hats. This is a feast for the eyes which is perhaps not surprising as the author is an artist but will the inside match the luxurious facade?

This is an odd review for me as, amid all my oohing and ahhing, I was all too aware of how some of my bookish friends would absolutely hate this book and would be cringing from the opening pages. So, best to get that elephant out of the room before I go any further! If you don't like magical realism, if you're not a fan of meandering narratives, if you prefer action, if you don't like novels written in the present tense, if you don't like fantasy then there's nothing for you here. However, if, like me, you do like a bit of escapism, you like to slip into another world, if you enjoy visual stimulation, then step right up!

The story is perhaps the least important element of The Night Circus, that role being reserved for the circus itself but yes, there is an underlying narrative, the story of two gifted young illusionists, Celia and Marco, being pitted against each other in a lengthy battle the rules of which are vague. Le Cirque de Reves (the Circus of Dreams) is the battlefield and it soon attracts a faithful following of "reveurs" (dreamers) who follow its progress from town to town, continent to continent by means of a shadowy underground movement.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
A very cleverly written and descriptive book that makes you feel like you have visited and are part of the night circus. Read more
Published 16 seconds ago by sharon edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars a unique and beautiful love story that makes you feel this intense...
An enchanting book, a unique and beautiful love story that makes you feel this intense feeling, I was so sad when I finished this book, I would have liked it never to end.
Published 2 days ago by eucila
4.0 out of 5 stars enchantingly different
Magical tale, like nothing I've read before. Covers everything from love, loss to magic and a deadly game. Keeps you wanting to read more. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Lara
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!
"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not."

Wow, what a brilliant opening! Read more
Published 4 days ago by DubaiReader
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not magic
Well you'll either love it or you won't. Fantasy is not my thing and I only read this because a friend recommended it - a friend whose literary judgement I shall question in the... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Gargoyle
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Magical - but rather long.
Published 6 days ago by helen sheath
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Totally loved it brillant
Published 7 days ago by Ainsleigh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very enjoyable read
Published 7 days ago by S. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I was captivated by this and couldn't put it down
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as expecting !
When I bought this book, I thought it looked and sounded fascinating. I thought it would have surprised me, but was mildly disappointed. Read more
Published 14 days ago by mikayla
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