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Showing 1-10 of 3,796 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 6,129 reviews
on October 8, 2016
As soon as I finished the Night Circus two things happened; first, it shot to the top of my favorites list and second, I simply had to reread it. I couldn't let the world go so quickly. This is the book I turn to when I want to be encompassed and surrounded by a luscious and fantastic world that is better than mine. I adore the characters, but the descriptions of the circus itself leave marks. When I think of wonder and magic, this world and it's circus are what define those qualities. I've never read anything quite like this, and I'm afraid that I might not ever find something as wonderful as it again, but I hold out hope.
If you like Harry Potter, you'll probably like this, though it is very different.
If you, like me, adore this book and are looking for something else to read, go try Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, and it's sequel Court Duel.
If you want another wonderful way to experience this book: listen to the audiobook. It's read by Jim Dale, and it is magic.
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on April 20, 2017
I have read and listened on Audible to this book. It is so well written and descriptive. I don't usually enjoy much description but this was perfect. Two young people placed in a situation at a very young age are groomed to play a game of a lifetime. The characters are interesting and the story places their game inside a wonderfully magical circus that opens at midnight and closes before the sun comes up. So enjoyable if you love fantasy and magic. They need to make a movie out of it!
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VINE VOICEon May 17, 2013
I've been wanting to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgentern since I read all the fabulous reviews after it's release. I finally found an excuse when it was picked as one of this year's reads for our neighborhood book club. Several of my friends read it before I did and whenever I asked what they thought they would respond with comments like "The imagery is amazing." I wondered if it would be one of those books full of amazing imagery and lacking on plot and characterization.

I was a bit bored by the book I was reading earlier this week (going back to it now and I'm hoping it gets better) so I picked up The Night Circus instead. I was almost immediately entranced by the images created by words and a magical, enchanting world and I realized why my friends chose to describe it as they had. However, I was thrilled to also be intrigued by the mysterious plot and the unique and quirky characters. Admittedly, there are many characters and it was often difficult at the beginning to make sense of the various characters and time periods in the different chapters. I was relieved to know that many of the characters didn't even know what was going on.

Two rival magicians pit their students against each other in an elaborate duel of strength and skills. Their venue is the newly imagined Night Circus that enchants audiences around the world when it suddenly appears outside of town and opens its gates and wonders when the sun sets. The challenge between the two will entangle the entire circus and become even more dangerous when they fall in love with each other.

I have a soft spot for the purely creative--the book that tells a story no one else has told in a way that no one else would even think to tell it. The Night Circus by Erin Moregenstern is as imaginative and delightful as the one where patrons enter black and white tents filled with wishing trees and world made of ice.
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on February 13, 2017
One of the hazards of reading and reviewing a book such as The Night Circus is it renders one’s reviewing ability virtually useless. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. For one, piecing together a coherent take on the book is an arduous task. For another, it’s a shot at your already frail capacity to write a review in the first place. To top it off, The Night Circus was very vague in a lot of aspects. So the chances drawing blanks while writing the review is considerably high.

Still, I can say in all honesty, that this book is highly imaginative, however strange. Though it’s tough to follow sometimes because the timeline jumps sporadically. And the fact that the train arrives without warning at the most random places adds to that confusion. The train itself is magical, obviously. It carries the performers who possessed some otherworldly abilities recruited by the mysterious founder.

At the core of this novel is a love story between two protégés caught in between two competing magicians. But the romance lacks intensity so it takes a backseat throughout the novel. The two magicians seem immortal, pitting one protege against the other over the years. The mechanics of the game wasn’t clear, which is frustrating for the most part. The object was to beat each other, of course. As to the genesis and end game, Ms. Morgenstern was not very forthcoming.

The world of The Night Circus is magical in the literal sense. Besides the fact that the train travels like the wind (swift as the speed of sound), Celia and Marco have the strangest ability to manipulate thoughts, stop time, and even dabble in telekinesis. You have a fortune teller whose accuracy is uncanny, and kids who speak to animals. But is there anything more magical than love? Ms. Morgenstern explores the dark relationships between the children and their minders. Most of them were taken when they were young then cared for by their guardians. But it is love? Like that of a parent to their child? Celia’s relationship with her father was tenuous at best, volatile for the most part. Marco didn’t fare any better. In the end, it was hard to decipher who was manipulating whom.

There is a star-crossed element to the romance between Marco and Celia. Besides the fact that their masters are mortal enemies, the result of the competition ends in the loser’s death. Quitting the game is no easy task. It’s almost as if the contest is set up so the competing magicians fall in love, so to win the game also means it’s at the expense of the person they love. That should be enough to titillate the most ardent romance readers, but sadly, the thrill just wasn’t there.

Morgenstern’s writing is very polished but because it’s set in the 1800s, I can’t help but feel that the emotions were restricted. It’s formal, regimented, and unfortunately, very cold at times. I would like to read more of her other works, though. But I would like to wait and see something other than this historical/magical realism/fantasy hybrid.
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on July 10, 2016
I don't know how to feel about this book. On the one hand, it's beautifully written and extremely atmospheric. On the other, it's slooooooow. Saying that this book is the literary equivalent of a game of chess is not an exaggeration. This book is for a certain subset of people; ones who are okay with a lot of description and very little action. I am only that person sometimes. Luckily, I found myself listening to this book at a time when I was okay with it--a 3 hour commute will do that to you. I feel like, had I tried to sit down and read this on my Kindle, I probably would have given up halfway through.

The descriptions are absolutely luscious; tons of detail, making the circus almost tangible. This is a world I would absolutely loved to be sucked into to explore for a few hours. I'm very glad I listened to this on audiobook, because I think I would've gotten bored and given up halfway through if I hadn't been captivated by Jim Dale's narration. His voice truly brought the circus to life.

Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of the way the story was told, via vignettes that jump all over time and place. I much prefer a very linear story, with minimal time/character jumps. That said, I can understand why the story was told the way that it was; it's a patchwork quilt of viewpoints and experiences that make the story stronger and suit the book and it's message well.

The love story was a bit lacking, personally. I understand how the main characters fell in love, but in a story about a magic circus, their love story was the most unrealistic thing I came across. I wish they had had more direct interaction/courting, because I'm a sucker for courtly romance, but it wouldn't have suited the story.

At the end of the day, I'm glad I experienced this book, even though it's not my usual fare. It's delicious, but also sluggish--like a 20 course meal. You'll be stuffed and satisfied at the end, but it's not going to be something you'll want to experience immediately again and you will need time to digest.
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on July 21, 2015
Let me begin by saying Erin Morgenstern is a wordsmith. She can weave a sentence like nobody's business. There were a few passages I had to read over again simply because they were so beautiful I wanted to experience them twice.

This is a captivating book. It keeps the reader engaged and wanting more. The characters are likable, if a little cartoonish around the edges. The more interesting ones are sadly kept to the periphery, but I can forgive that for the sheer intrigue of the story and elegance of the writing.

My one major criticism is that near the end it felt like Morgenstern ran out of gas. There was all this build up, all this mystery, for an ending that overall didn't quite satisfy. Too many loose ends were left dangling, too many characters fizzled out, and the "grand finale" was too on the anticlimactic side for me to give this five stars.

Still, I did enjoy it and look forward to reading more by Morgenstern.
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on January 26, 2013
The first thing (other than the cover) that attracted me to this book is one word used over and over in most reader reviews... "Magical". Magical it is. This book is beautifully written and brings you deep into an adventure in the past all across the world.

Have you ever stopped and remembered what it was like when you were a child and you still believed in Magic, or Santa, or Ghosts and this funny feeling those beliefs create with in you? This book brings you into a world of that feeling. If you could imagine a huge, magical, unrealistically amazing circus, that is what this entire book is about. But more than that it is about the people with in the circus and the author makes you fall in love with every one of them.

One thing that I can say is that this is a book that you have to pay great attention to. The chapters skip around from past to future so sometimes I'd rewind on my Kindle to make sure and remember what time line I was presently reading, but it wasn't really annoying or hard to keep up with. Also the author goes into really great details about almost everything... but I got the feeling that this book was her 'Baby'... like she's been holding this tale inside for a very long time and finally burst it all out onto paper and did not hold back at all, not even one little detail.

Over all if you enjoy YA reading and think you would like to go back to a time where magic was real in your heart and mind, read this book. It definitely is simply magical and beautiful.
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on April 29, 2017
It wasn't clear from the beginning what a kind of magical love story The Night Circus would turn out to be. Now finished, I was pleasantly surprised.

The language ranges from common to eloquent in a nice balance, the author has a good grasp when to go grand and bring out the big people words versus times many smaller words will pack just as much punch. Some authors try too hard at this concept and fall, Morgenstern is by no means perfect, but makes it work.

The story jumps between many different years and settings, not in any chronological order, and a little mumbled at times. I had to back up and reread a few chapters a few times to clear up what was going on. The breaks in the narrative with in depth descriptions of the circus - the sounds, sights, smells that touches all the senses - as you travel through it, from the moment it appears in a random location, are dreamy and enticing.

Then again, these are my views... I'm a little romantic at heart. There is a circus, romance, a quiet battle of control versus chaos, and the illusion that may or may not be real. The unexpected part was how much I enjoyed this book, having read some not so friendly reviews. Give it a chance, and it might surprise you.
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on January 7, 2017
I read and loved this book when it first came out on 2011. I just reread it for book club and love it as much if not more! I was a bit anxious about revisiting The Night Circus as sometimes books don't hold up over time or the readers change. I am sorry to see so many negative reviews of this marvelous book. I view it as a fairy tale for adults and I think it hits all the marks.

The story is complex and twisty. It takes place between 1873-1903 and moves back and forth in time and across the US and Europe. Two "magicians," Prospero and Alexander each take on a young charge and teach them to be the best. Prospero works with his daughter Celia while Alexander adopts a young boy named Marco. Marco and Celia are bound to each other, though they do not meet for some years. They are pitted against each other in a contest but are given no guidelines. A strange man named Chandresh forms a circus and this becomes their venue. Marco and Celia, sometimes with the help of a few of Chandresh's associates, construct elaborate tents full of wonder and magic. The circus arrives and departs without warning. Celia and Marco eventually meet and fall in love. They start to piece together details of the contest and the horrible and inevitable outcome. Can they stop the challenge that will destroy them?

It is difficult to sum up the plot and do it justice. It is so much more nuanced and engaging than what I just wrote. I found the book hard to put down. The main criticism of this book appears to be a lack of character development. That is true, but fairy tales are plot driven and evocative. I can't recall a fairy tale that is a character study. I really hope that people will give this book a try. Ms. Morgenstern has an enviable imagination. Her writing is detailed and gorgeous--you feel like you are actually at the circus, experiencing the magic and mystery. I want to believe that the wonders of The Night Circus really exist.
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on August 15, 2015
I really hoped that I would like this book, it' certainly had some very pretty ideas and interesting themes, but all in all it did not deliver a page-turning story. It took me a while to get used to the way the writer wrote the story in present tense, something about it was irritating, especially at the beginning. For example something like "He went into the the room, took off his hat and coat, and sat down to some tea." was instead written as "He goes into the room. He takes off his hat and coat. He sits down to a cup of tea." It also took a long while to establish a good connection to the main characters, and by the time you do, the story is nearly over. I also found the authors descriptions excessive at times. Some of her descriptions are well written, but many go on in excess, and you just want to get on with the story. I found myself skimming some of the descriptions just to get to relevant details. I also found the way the stories timing hopped around, a little unpleasant, it created a lack of fluidity with the story for me. Some of the interactions between Celia and Marco were well written though, to say something nice, and the idea of the magical night circus is charming. I was hoping the ending would deliver something that made the time I spent reading this book feel worthwhile, but it didn't. Just my two cents, clearly others enjoyed the book. For me this book was a lot of glitz and glam without any real substance.
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