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186 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Captivating
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...
Published on 5 Oct 2011 by Sarah (Feeling Fictional)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic, but a good read nevertheless.
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...
Published 19 months ago by Burning Amnesia


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic, but a good read nevertheless., 24 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Night Circus (Paperback)
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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186 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Captivating, 5 Oct 2011
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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. I have to say that I loved the twins Poppet and Widget along with their friend Bailey but most of all I enjoyed seeing Celia and Marco grow into their roles as they tried to compete with each other. The story skips backwards and forwards in time and gradually unfolds as you start to realise how everything fits together, leading up to a breathtaking finale in a book that you won't want to end.

The Night Circus is a book that I will definitely be re-reading and I know I will be recommending it again and again to friends and family. I wish I could wipe the experience of reading it from my mind just so that I could pick it up and enjoy it for the first time all over again. If you want to be transported to a different world to experience the joys of the circus as if you were a child again then I would highly recommend this story. This will definitely make my best books of 2011 list and Erin Morgenstern has become an automatic buy author for me in the future.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreamlike and gorgeous, but flawed, 1 Dec 2011
By 
K. Marzillier (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I struggled to decide how many stars to give this book. On the one hand, I loved it. On the other, it fails as a story.

This is a story about the proteges of two magicians, bound by their mentors to play a mysterious game against each other. The playing area for the game is the Cirque des Reves - a circus which arrives and departs with no warning and only opens at night. Everything within the circus is black, white or shades of grey. There are acrobats, contortionists, big cat tamers, each the best of their kind, and a bonfire that burns pure white and never goes out. In one tent an illusionist - Celia, one of the players in the game - carries out impossible feats. In another a fortune teller (the lover of the other player, Marco) reads the cards for visitors. The circus is the brainchild of a group of eccentric and creative people who meet for wonderfully-described Midnight Dinners to plan it, but who find themselves unable to escape the pull of the dreamlike world they have created. As the circus travels, new tents appear, with Marco and Celia building tents for each other. They must play against each other, but they each are drawn to the mystery and beauty of each other's work, and eventually to each other.

If you read this book, it should be for the magical world of the circus. You feel as though you are really there, wandering through the circus, peering into the tents. You can feel the chilly night air, smell the smoke from the bonfire and taste the caramel apples. The short descriptions of individual tents scattered between the chapters are marvellous (the Pool of Tears, in particular, sticks in my mind). The circus is wonderfully visualised - I can see the clock, the black and white tents with their strings of lights, the "reveurs" dressed in black and white with their splash of red. The world of the Cirque des Reves is dreamlike and spellbinding.

However, the central narrative of the book is lacking. The competition is set up well, the mystery of the circus detailed throughout the book (though many questions raised about the circus are not answered by the end), but the characters are flat and the story underwritten in comparison to Morgenstern's incredible realisation of the world she has created. In the end it was the fate of the circus that mattered much more to me than the competition or the relationship between Marco and Celia.

Despite the lack of plot (once I realised there really wasn't going to be much of a plot) and the characters not feeling fully drawn, I did love this book. This is an incredibly visual and beautiful book, and worth reading for that alone. It is very unusual to find a book that succeeds so well in one area but fails in another, but this is one of those books. The hardback is a gorgeous book, with black-tipped pages and a stunning cover - worth seeking out if you can.
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87 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step Right Up!, 15 Sep 2011
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"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. There is a secondary storyline involving Bailey, a country boy who becomes linked to the circus and will have a key role in future events. There is a varied cast of weird and wonderful characters, including Celia's villainous father, Hector, his rival, Alexander, the man in the great suit as well as the supporting cast who keep the circus going. These are not characters you expect to empathise with, this is a show after all and they are there to entertain you just as the various tents house a myriad of visually stunning scenes, the Ice Garden, the Cloud Maze, the Labyrinth etc.

Some have compared The Night Circus with Audrey Niffenegger and yes, I can see slight similarities given that both authors are visual artists. Others mention Alice Hoffman and yes, I can see some elements in common but Erin Morgenstern has created a unique world with the Cirque de Reves and for those who are on the right wavelength she has provided a pathway to a singularly enchanting universe, one in which my inner child revelled. Highly recommended for all "reveurs"/dreamers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tale and story of forbidden love, perfectly packed in the magic of the circus, 29 April 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
‘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 RÍves (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.

Trying to better describe the circus, the author became a bit lost through the contents, and the characters and their forbidden love only serve as a link that holds all the pictures of the circus together. Nevertheless, Morgenstern’s work is fascinating, and the magic that runs as a guiding line is almost real due to way it impacts on the reader, because her book is simply hard to resist. With each new page opens up some new details, luscious descriptions and incredible magic and it's hard to stop reading.

Therefore ‘Night Circus' is a combination of fairy tale and story of forbidden love, perfectly packed in the magic of the circus. Although it is not a top literary work as the structure and mode of writing is concerned, the author's ability to visualize simply delights.

So, if you love fairy tales and love stories or simply looking for a book that will fascinate you, then 'Night Circus' should not to be missed.
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88 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best debut of 2011!, 15 Sep 2011
Lucky enough to have read a proof copy of this title some weeks ago, I've been itching to tell you how good it is! If you want to be swept away then 'The Night Circus' will certainly snatch your imagination and take you on the most incrdible journey. Captivating and dreamlike, the tiny chapters will tempt you for hours on end.

I was seduced completely by the magic, the intrigue, the characters (none more impressive than the circus itself), the converging timelines of the plot, and a mix of chill air, caramel popcorn smells, dancing kittens, and the flap of black and white canvas. I read a lot, but its rare to find a book this special. Some books feel like more than books. Some books have jackets that may as well be false doors in the back of dusty old wardrobes, the way that they can instantly transport you to someplace magical. This is such a book.

Mooted to appeal to the Twilight generation (although this is much, much better) or even 'Harry Potter for grown ups', with film rights already snapped up before publication - I think this book has enough strength to be a smash hit in its own right. I hope it is. This is definately one to buy and keep and re-buy and gift to your friends...

When people drift away from reading as a habit, this is the kind of book i want to put into their hands to say "See? See what you're missing!?"

Bravo, Erin Morgenstern!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Night Circus (Paperback)
I was recommended this book and on reading the description thought it sounded very promising. I agree with other reviews that the descriptions of the circus were magical however they got rather repetitive after a while. There was little story and most of the characters were uninspiring. The story jumped around so much it was confusing and didn't really flow. Towards the end of the book I was just bored and skipping paragraphs to get to the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and repetitive, 22 Mar 2013
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I was recommended this by a friend however I was bored most of the time. I found it endlessly repetitve and wished it had ended 100 pages earlier - this is at best a short story which has been prolonged into a tedious novel. I wouldn't recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too long and no depth, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Night Circus (Paperback)
This book is a bit silly and long. Some of the descriptions of the beauty and strangeness of the circus are enjoyable, but there's not really a storyline and none of the characters are believable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not that good, 31 Oct 2012
By 
P. Dunjay - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Night Circus (Paperback)
Sorry, but this book just isn't that good. I don't know why it's been so hyped.

The characters are flat and flimsy - it's a story that should be moving but I barely felt drawn into, as their personalities and a key romance are never really detailed enough. There is no motivation for why other characters act as they do, and not enough fleshing out of the circus performers to feel they are worth saving. Another character is tacked on halfway through in order to provide an ending, for no obvious reason. There are powerful emotions here that should be leaping off the page, but they don't.

The premise of 'the game' and the magic involved is barely explored, leaving the fantastical element without obvious rules or limits. The plotting is flimsy - I spotted the ending about halfway through the book due to an obvious chunk of dialogue about the eventual solution. The pace is totally off - the tension of the first few chapters with their cruelties and rigour quickly dissolve into a broken up chronology of the circus. Even the wonderful descriptions of tents begin to repeat themselves. Its level of complexity is that of a teenage novel.

It had a promising premise and some of the visual descriptions are lovely. I'm sure a film would look amazing, but this book really fails to get in deep.
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The Night Circus
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Paperback - 24 May 2012)
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