Customer Reviews for

The Night Circus

Average Rating 4.5
( 2283 )
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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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  • 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2012

    Just didn't do it for me.

    I wasn't impressed. It never truly captivated me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    Overwritten and boring

    I had high hopes for this book since so many people liked it. (Just proves that the average American reader has no taste and cannot tell the difference between trash and real fiction.) I made it all the way through page 300 (more than halfway) before I gave up. Life is too short to waste time reading crap like this. Ms. Morgenstern cannot write. This book just plods along like a badly crafted police report.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Meh

    I had high hopes for this book, but it was BORING. The circus is black and white, with a splash of red, I GET IT. Can we discuss the actual competition between Celia and Marco in more detail? Unless the competition is secondary to the long, drawn-out, repetitive descriptions of the circus... but that was the point, right?

    No? Okay, then can we go into the relationships between the interesting characters, like Poppet, Widget, and Bailey?

    No? Then I've apparently missed the point of the book. The book's about the Night Circus, right? Black, white, some red, tents, black, white, some red, tents, black white, some red, tents, etc. Because that's what the author does - She goes on and on about the circus... and the all the characters (you know... the aspects that make any story interesting) are merely an afterthought.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Unique but haphazard

    I liked about a third of the book, but I found that after the initial novelty wore off, much of the book seemed pointless and choppy. A pity, because the carefully constructed environment seemed to have such potential. Maybe I should have just enjoyed it for what it was, but I always expected some profound insight or life metaphor to be revealed that ultimately never was. Did I miss somethong?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Disappointing

    Nothing special here. I finished it because I always finish books that I purchase. Language was 'stuffy' and pretentious. I suppose that was purposefullly done since the book is set in London around the turn of the 19th century.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointed after all the hype!

    So after all the awesome reviews I read about this circus I was so excited to read the book and I have to admit I was disappointed. It was an ok read, but certainly not even close to the best book I have ever read. I actually found the plot pretty drawn out and it seemed to me that certain aspects were just repeated throughout the book with nothing really new to look forward to.

    I have to say that it wasn't by any means a terrible book, I guess I was just looking for that WOW factor so to speak after reading the reviews and I never got it from this book. Don't know if I would honestly recommend this book to friends.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    Good Concept, not so good execution

    While the concept seemed very interesting to me, the execution of the book was not. I enjoyed the back round of the characters and the premise of the story but the plot was just way too much! It started getting hard to follow and things got lost within the reading. Sometimes less is truly more and I think that this idea would have really helped the book.

    This was my pick for book club and most of then had the same feelings about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    This book was disappointing...and someone has already suggested

    This book was disappointing...and someone has already suggested that  it lacked substance, which was spot on. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    Good Book!

    I enjoyed this a lot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    well written but...

    This is so far not my cup of tea. I most likely will finish it but the story line doesn't do much for me. I am not in love with any of the characters so far, so it does not call me back.

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  • Posted April 25, 2013

    The best way to describe this book is "STRANGE".  I ne

    The best way to describe this book is "STRANGE".  I never really understood it, I guess.  The circus is a magic circus, one that isn't really there and yet you can see it in your mind.  The author did a great job of describing the tents, the acts, and the smells but the characters were shallow leaving no connection between them and the reader.  The last 100 pages are the best of the book but they still leave you asking "huh"?

    I have read that we only use 20% of our brain capacity, so conceptually I'm wondering if the author was thinking that these things could be possible if we used more of our brains than we do.  I also wonder if this book is enjoyed by a much younger generation.  I guess I'll find out  during our discussion at book club.  As for me, I wouldn't recommend.

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  • Posted February 21, 2013

    Up until page 367, I was enrapt with the book. Absolutely beauti

    Up until page 367, I was enrapt with the book. Absolutely beautiful story, full of wonder and intrigue. BUT my complaint is this - in my NOOK edition, I am missing pages 367-370!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Too long

    I had high hopes for this book.but was so disappointed. It was much too long and i slogged through eaiting for something interesting, didn't happen.

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  • Posted November 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Hmmmm...

    I wanted to like this book. In fact, I was excited when I got it but I found myself trying to force my way thru it. It wasn't a bad book but the entire time you are being led on and disappointed...hard to explain but it was missing something...Maybe I just didn't understand but I found Bailey's part in the story to be more interesting than the others'.

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    Ok, but not what I was hoping for.

    When I first came across this book I was hoping for something that was really going to wow me. The idea and the setting seemed totally unique but I found it to be a let down. I felt that the descriptions of the circus seemed repetitive. The characters did not feel believable to me, particularly the romance between two of the main characters. The 2 characters are rarely actually interacting until later on in the story and all of a sudden they are in love.... something was missing there. Also, I didn't quite understand the whole competition betweeen the 2 magicians and how it was a contest to the death. I think the meaning behind all that was rather vague and I just couldn't get attached to the story and the characters. I did like the way she organized the timeline of the story and the way the author jumped around between characters actually flowed together really well. In the end, I can only give 2 stars since rather than wanting the story to continue, I was impatient to finish it and have it come to an end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Imaginative, but aggravating

    I read a great deal of fantasy and this was fanciful. I, however, found the writing style annoying. I didn't like the characters and I hated the Catherine and Heathcliff ending especially since I had to struggle to finish it. I won't be looking forward to any more books by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Just ok

    This book was so boring. I had very high hopes after reading all the great reviews. I was not impressed. I could not even finish it. I was so bored with it.

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  • Posted August 21, 2012

    I really wanted to love this book but I just could not get into

    I really wanted to love this book but I just could not get into it at
    all. It took half of the book for something to happen and the story was
    just a little to choppy for me. When the chapters are only two or three
    pages long it makes it very hard to build up any interest in a story.
    Again, I write this review with a broken heart but it just was not a
    good book.

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  • Posted August 16, 2012

    For those seeking mystery and fantasy, rather than a love story.

    This book was not what I expected. I expected something along the lines of "Harry Potter," and other fantasy work. What I got, instead, was a piece of literature. As an English teacher, I do not use the word "literature" lightly. Many people have claimed the writing styled bored them, and many said the pace did not move fast enough to keep them interested. The Night Circus DOES move slowly, but it sets a stage for the reader. The reader must know what the game entails, what happens behind the scenes. For it is not the game that is important, but the people in it, and the setting in which it takes place. This novel is wrought with symbolism, allegory, and fantasy. If you enjoy a read that makes you ponder, this is the novel for you. Perhaps the greatest attribute of this novel is the accessibility provided by the author. Young readers, reading simply for the fantasy, will enjoy it as much as a mature reader, looking for an intellectual piece of literature.

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