Customer Reviews for

The Night Circus

Average Rating 4.5
( 2283 )
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(1378)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

298 out of 316 people found this review helpful.

Wicked Good Read

As I work at Barnes and Noble, I take full advantage of my perks with the books. As a result I read about 5 or so books a week. This summer I read a few books I was really impressed with, some of the best of which are: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Miss Peregrine's H...
As I work at Barnes and Noble, I take full advantage of my perks with the books. As a result I read about 5 or so books a week. This summer I read a few books I was really impressed with, some of the best of which are: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculier Children, and Wonderstruck--that being said, The Night Circus blew them all out of the water. Truly, a book with just enough romance (oh how tired I have grown of those predictable books about naughty dukes with images of girls clutching their extravagant gowns as a man..you know), just enough history, just enough magic, and just enough something else to make it more than a lovely, refreshing read- it is important, significant, somehow.

posted by mt_employee on September 16, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

70 out of 86 people found this review helpful.

A Magical World...But Little Else

I know I am going to reflect the minority here but I did not love the book as much as I wanted to. Maybe it was the repeated hype and build-up, or maybe it was my own excitement, but I really expected a lot out of this book and it did not deliver.

First of all, it to...
I know I am going to reflect the minority here but I did not love the book as much as I wanted to. Maybe it was the repeated hype and build-up, or maybe it was my own excitement, but I really expected a lot out of this book and it did not deliver.

First of all, it took me about 100 pages to get into the book, which was longer than anticipated. I kept reading but it took me a while to get into the energy and flow of the back-and-forth dialogue enough to be truly excited about picking it back up. While the writing and description were wonderful, the characters struck me as rather bland. I felt this especially about Marco and Celia, who - as two of the more magical people - could have been focused on more, and given more time in the book. The whole storyline is centered on this competition that both Marco and Celia are unwilling participants in. Instead of pity or empathy, I could offer no emotions for the two protagonists as they did not come off as tangible people. I understand this is supposed to be "magical" but what good is magic if there is no element to tie it to the reader?

My favorites, by far, were the secondary characters - Bailey, Herr Thiessen, Poppet and Widget, and Tsukiko. The colorfulness of these characters, added to the overwhelming blandness of the gray mood of the circus as a whole. While we get bits and pieces of their overlapping stories, Morgenstern chooses to do so in a disjointed time-frame that is often confusing. Her narrative jumps forwards and backwards, but there is really very little reason for her to employ this technique, as the general flow of the story is very linear.

My absolutely favorite thing about this book was the imaginative scenery and the circus as a whole. The smells, sights, and sounds of it were so beautifully explained, that I could almost smell caramel apple as I sat reading it. The many different tents that were a part of the circus were so creative and wonderful that I found myself longing to be a part of that world. The ice garden, in particular, was so beautifully explained. I loved that this book made me imagine the circus so vividly. While the descriptions help, it left just enough out that I am sure my version of the ice garden is different from that of anyone else.

I would recommend this book to other readers who love a fairy-tale like story but are not looking for too much emotional involvement or character substance. I have heard that the rights to the movie version of "The Night Circus" have already been bought and I think that is fantastic! The book is so visual, that I just hope that the studio who will be responsible can do it justice.

posted by VioletteReads1 on October 21, 2011

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  • Posted September 16, 2011

    Wicked Good Read

    As I work at Barnes and Noble, I take full advantage of my perks with the books. As a result I read about 5 or so books a week. This summer I read a few books I was really impressed with, some of the best of which are: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculier Children, and Wonderstruck--that being said, The Night Circus blew them all out of the water. Truly, a book with just enough romance (oh how tired I have grown of those predictable books about naughty dukes with images of girls clutching their extravagant gowns as a man..you know), just enough history, just enough magic, and just enough something else to make it more than a lovely, refreshing read- it is important, significant, somehow.

    298 out of 316 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Magical!

    This story was so beautifully told, that am certain I will be rereading it for years to come! The author excels at capturing your imagination by creating a world where everything is possible and everyday things can be magical! I have never read another book quite like it; it is uniquely wonderful! The story has elements of romance, mystery, and the paranormal which blend together seamlessly. Because of this, I would recommend it for book clubs of all fiction genres, and also to anyone who is eager for something original!

    93 out of 100 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Magical World...But Little Else

    I know I am going to reflect the minority here but I did not love the book as much as I wanted to. Maybe it was the repeated hype and build-up, or maybe it was my own excitement, but I really expected a lot out of this book and it did not deliver.

    First of all, it took me about 100 pages to get into the book, which was longer than anticipated. I kept reading but it took me a while to get into the energy and flow of the back-and-forth dialogue enough to be truly excited about picking it back up. While the writing and description were wonderful, the characters struck me as rather bland. I felt this especially about Marco and Celia, who - as two of the more magical people - could have been focused on more, and given more time in the book. The whole storyline is centered on this competition that both Marco and Celia are unwilling participants in. Instead of pity or empathy, I could offer no emotions for the two protagonists as they did not come off as tangible people. I understand this is supposed to be "magical" but what good is magic if there is no element to tie it to the reader?

    My favorites, by far, were the secondary characters - Bailey, Herr Thiessen, Poppet and Widget, and Tsukiko. The colorfulness of these characters, added to the overwhelming blandness of the gray mood of the circus as a whole. While we get bits and pieces of their overlapping stories, Morgenstern chooses to do so in a disjointed time-frame that is often confusing. Her narrative jumps forwards and backwards, but there is really very little reason for her to employ this technique, as the general flow of the story is very linear.

    My absolutely favorite thing about this book was the imaginative scenery and the circus as a whole. The smells, sights, and sounds of it were so beautifully explained, that I could almost smell caramel apple as I sat reading it. The many different tents that were a part of the circus were so creative and wonderful that I found myself longing to be a part of that world. The ice garden, in particular, was so beautifully explained. I loved that this book made me imagine the circus so vividly. While the descriptions help, it left just enough out that I am sure my version of the ice garden is different from that of anyone else.

    I would recommend this book to other readers who love a fairy-tale like story but are not looking for too much emotional involvement or character substance. I have heard that the rights to the movie version of "The Night Circus" have already been bought and I think that is fantastic! The book is so visual, that I just hope that the studio who will be responsible can do it justice.

    70 out of 86 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    Wonderful read! It's not my normal taste in books so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book.

    65 out of 73 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Didn't Want This Book To End!

    I took my time finishing this book because I didn't want it to end... I enjoyed being absorbed into its magical world. It is a rare book that can pull you in, keep you guessing, and still have a surprising and satisfying conclusion. It is a grief to me that while I can, and will, read this book again, I will never again have the experience of reading it for the first time...

    62 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended - Best book of 2011

    Erin Morgenstern has created a hauntingly, magical book. To try to describe it only will trivialize it. It's more than a book about a circus or magic or love. Trust me when I say, you won't be disappointed!

    39 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Just ok.

    After reading all of the reviews, and the interesting story line I was ready to absolutely love this book. The idea of magicians competing in a circus to the death was so interesting I couldn't wait to read how everything played out. In reality there was nothing remarkable or enthralling about the competition. I was expecting a really fast paced, suspenseful competition between amazing magicians in the circus, and what I got were two boring characters who were rarely around eachother, competing from different locations . There was nothing interesting about the magic they were doing. It was more like magical interior decorating. The romantic story line was equally ridiculous and boring. They "fell in love" the second or third time they were around eachother (mind you, they had hadn't spoken much to one another during their encounters). There was nothing romantic or believable about their tale of forbidden and, ultimately, devastating "love". Aside from that, I didn't understand why they couldn't be together, or why the competition had to be to the death. The entire thing was incredibly pointless and didn't make sense. I found myself more interested in the minor characters, particularly the psychic twins and the farm boy, who would one day play important roles in the circus. I do have to commend the authors style of writing. Her descriptive words made me feel like I was actually there, and while some have found the chapters hard to follow since they go back and for through the years, and involve numerous characters (probably too many if you ask me), I quite enjoyed that. Too bad the book wasn't as enjoyable. It was ok, but I would recommend not going into it with high expectations.

    37 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    The Prestige meets The Illusionist meets Water for Elephants...

    This was a highly imaginative and romantic story, filled with magic and lots of Victorian and steampunk details (all that clockwork!). It reminded me a lot of The Prestige, with a romance embedded in the middle of it. And the little chapters done in 2nd person POV sprinkled throughout the main story makes the reader feel like he/she is attending the actual circus--a really unique touch! All in all, a very good read. Perfect if you like a little magic and fantasy in your fiction (but not all-out sci-fi).

    34 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Terrible!

    After reading all those great reviews I figured it would be worth the money. I was so wrong! It was very drawn out and boring. I kept on waiting for something major to happen. I barely finished it and it took weeks. What a waste of time and money. I beginning to think they only show the positive reviews on here.

    27 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    I want to run away and join this circus!

    ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT

    The Night Circus is a mysterious and magical place, full of wonder and acts that create awe in anyone who buys a ticket. Marco and Celia have been preparing for battle since their youth and when both are placed in the circus arena to battle, neither one is exactly certain what this competition is about, nor are they sure about the rules or how a winner is declared. So they both began to create special tents in order to impress each other, not the judges and in essence become love letters.

    The story is told almost in a circular fashion, with flashbacks and forwards to help bring the reader to a conclusion. There are also a few minor characters that play important roles, yet you won't connect them together until almost the very end. Tsukiko, the tattooed contortionist, is one to keep your eye on since she knows exactly what the circus is and gives cryptic hints towards the true meaning of it's existence. The twins, Poppet and Widget, born when the circus first starts, are wise beyond their years and are inborn with a natural sense of order for the circus. Bailey becomes infatuated after visiting the circus and soon becomes a Reveur, a group who follow the circus, which are a fascinating group on their own.

    The descriptions are lush and I found myself going back to reread this book just for the beautiful words. I am NOT a fan of overly descriptive novels, but this one was really worked for me. I couldn't quite figure out where the story was going until it was over and it didn't matter, I wanted to join the circus. Oh, forget the review. THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ THIS YEAR. Or...at least I can't remember one I liked better so far.

    26 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    This is a Must Read!

    What I Liked: 1) Let's begin with the cover. The contrasting black and white with the splashes of red, while not only fitting completely with the story, are enticing enough alone to warrant a glance while on the shelf. 2) The prose. The story was written with an elegance that was beautiful and completely befitting the time period. 3) The descriptive writing. The story came alive from the pages because of how great the descriptions were. It was as real to me as if I was living the story myself. 4) The eccentricities of the characters. Miz Morgenstern made certain that none of her characters were mundane or generic. Each and every one of them took on a life of their own, and were so well developed that not one of them fell flat. 5) Celia. I have to take a minute to talk about Celia, the girl that we watched grow up throughout the story. She was the character that everyone is going to feel for, the relate to, and to root for as the story goes on. 6) The romance. Oh. My. Gosh. If there is anything to take away from this story, let it be this: love is magic. The romance that blossoms between Celia and Marco begins long before they even realize it themselves, and as a reader I was so involved in the story, that I was left breathless by their passion. 7) The idea. Authors astound me frequently in their creativity and their ability to come up with a new and intriguing story, and this is no exception.

    What I didn't like: .............nothing...............

    Overall thoughts: Wow. That was my initial reaction. When I finished reading and closed The Night Circus, I just had to sit for a few minutes and absorb what I'd just read. Everything about it was truly incredible, from the enchanting love story, the captivating magic, and the spellbinding plot. This is a story that weaves its way into your heart and leaves you mesmerized. One word of caution: make sure you pay close attention to the dates at the beginning of the chapters - they don't always flow chronologically. This has got to be one of the best books I have read all year, and know I will read this story over and over. It's found a permanent home on my bookshelf!

    20 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    MY EYES MOVED ALONG THE PAGES, BUT MY BRAIN WENT DEAD

    I hate to be a nay-sayer, but a nice writing style does not alone make a good book. While this story started out intriguing, it quickly deteriorated into nothing special. I agree we should be finding new young authors, but not at the expense of readers who spend hard-earned money for books. This one just does not have what it takes to make a great book. The writing is ethereal at times, but that quickly fades into pedantic and over-wrought descriptions that repeat themselves. The characters are bland, and given the circumstances should not be. We just DON'T CARE about them. and I often had the feeling I had read this before, or seen in a movie. Sorry, but once again over-hype yields junk. Trust me...save your money. There is talent here waiting to come out, but this high school level book is not the one.

    18 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Waste of money

    I bought this book because of the reviews promising it to be the 'next Harry Potter' and the summary seemed interesting enough. The idea of two magicians who compete in a deadly contest of skill was enough for me to buy the book, but not enough to carry the book. The main characters were flat and annoying, and the interesting characters were not explored. The game was not fast-paced, and i actually began counting down the pages until the end. The description Morgenstern uses is very vivid, but after the first chapter or so I got very bored with the book. Don't waste your money on this book.

    16 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome story

    The Night Circus is an elaborate and amazingly well written story, of magic, and romance. The detail in this story is amazing and t some points might seem overwhelming but in the best way to where in imagery is literal jumping from the page as if the story was to play before your eyes. With multiple points of view throughout the story, the reader is constantly on changing perspectives, which makes the story more enthralling. With so many points of view going on throughout the story, the end of the tale magnifies the main conflict in the story as all the pieces finally come together. Aside from the story itself, the characters are well developed and the constant change in locations as the circus travels allows for constant movement in the story. Overall this story is fantastic and I was sorry to see it end.

    16 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Makes You Feel Like A True Rêveur!

    I read this book in two sittings and that's only because I had another engagement - I would have read it straight through if I could. Ms. Morgenstern's debut is a beautifully written literary gem. Her story captivates you right from the start, the vignettes about various aspects of the circus, the quotes, her character development - are amazing. I cannot say enough good things about this book. The twists and interlacing of the plots (and the parallel story lines) are intricately woven to say the least. Her detailed descriptions of the sights/sounds/smells/tastes of the circus made me think I was there. I can picture everything in my mind. I heard a rumor that there is a film in the works - I'll be going to see that. Amazing read, I would recommend this to anyone.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2011

    One of the BEST books I have ever read!!!

    I couldn't wait to find out what happens and yet I didn't ever want it to end! This book is one tht I will cherish and reread forever it was that good. I don't want to give anything away just if you like a writer with AMAZING creativity and books that you can feel, smell and picture yourself in everything that is going on...Then this is the book for you!! ENJOY!!

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    What A disappointment

    I was unable to be transported into this magical place the author claimed the night circus would be. Could not identify myseld with the main characters. Star-crossed lovers? not until the last chapters. Book goes back and forth in time making it difficult for me to follow. Only Bailey really called to me.Took me almost a week to read. Been looking forwad to read this book for months! Sad, Sad Face :( Try and see if you can find something I did not...more than willing to lend so that you do not have to spend the $13.99 I did!

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Captivating and Enchanting

    This was a captivating read. It was total pleasure to read. I found myself spell-bound by The Night Circus. There was romance, but not lusty. There was total enchantment, and not far out to burst your bubble. what a pleasure this was to read.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Live To Read

    This is one book a reader should buy a ticket too. The main characters, Celia and Marco, have been girded for battle for a very long time. However, when they are finally put in the arena, they find that they do not know what they are fighting for or what they want the outcome to be. Instead, they choose to construct elaborate tents...they end up impressing each other and are unconcerned about the judges. Their romance builds slowly, but steadily in the novel.




    The reader will love getting to know the individual characters as well. In a circus, there are many odd characters and the author remains true to this theme. The secondary characters are intriguing and often know much more than they tell...the reader will have fun guessing about the plot of this story and the perfect ending. The main characters complement each other perfectly, it seems perfectly natural that they would fall in love.




    The events are fast-paced and structured so as not to overwhelm the reader with the awesome that is in this book. The reader won't be confused by the sub-plots or the much larger plot that has many hidden secrets tucked away. The author writes very concisely, leaving just enough details to keep the reader on his/her toes. The ending is both perfect and surprising. This book is perfect for teens/young adults/adults.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Disillusioned

    This book was so highly touted that I couldn't wait to read it. I'm halfway through and I'm giving up. It's all build-up with no substance. I can only suspend my disbelief for so long, then I become irritated. This is honestly the first time I have been so disappointed with a book that was so highly recommended, and I can't help but feel like something is amiss. Who wrote all of these reviews? How has this been so popular when I find it SO vacant? I think it's a marketing circus. If I read my own review, it probably wouldn't have stopped me from buying the book (because I'd see how many were so positive), but I've now looked back at some critical reviews, etc., and they all say the same thing I have said here. At least I'll save money on the movie tickets!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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