The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

68%

49 Critic Reviews

I would strongly advise readers not to waste their time with such a weak, muddled mess of cheap spectacle masquerading as a story. There are very few redeeming qualities in this one, so don’t let the pretty cover entice you into this nonsensical vortex.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
 

About Erin Morgenstern

See more books from this Author
Erin Morgenstern es una escritora y artista que describe toda su obra como "cuentos de hadas, de una forma u otra." Actualmente vive en Massachusetts.
 
Published September 13, 2011 by Anchor. 401 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Other, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon5
Peak Rank on Oct 02 2011
icon15
Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
2
Want to Read
1
Have Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Night Circus
All: 49 | Positive: 33 | Negative: 16

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 05 2011

Generous in its vision and fun to read. Likely to be a big book—and, soon, a big movie, with all the franchise trimmings.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on May 16 2011

Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by STACEY D’ERASMO on Oct 07 2011

The novel is — and it’s an odd thing to say about a work of fiction — just too real to be believed.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by HorseLover3000 on Jan 27 2015

I would rate The Night Circus 11/10. I can easily say that it is the best stand alone book I have ever read, if not the best book I have ever read.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Olivia Laing on Sep 10 2011

There is an appealing zest to this and the many other wonders that Morgenstern has created, and if her book isn't entirely satisfactory in the ways one might expect, it still functions as an eminently intriguing cabinet of curiosities.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Olivia Laing on Sep 10 2011

...if her book isn't entirely satisfactory in the ways one might expect, it still functions as an eminently intriguing cabinet of curiosities.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on May 16 2011

Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus.

Read Full Review of The Night Circus | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by SaCha1689 on Apr 16 2012

I would strongly advise readers not to waste their time with such a weak, muddled mess of cheap spectacle masquerading as a story. There are very few redeeming qualities in this one, so don’t let the pretty cover entice you into this nonsensical vortex.

Read Full Review of The Night Circus | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Melanie Cremins on Sep 10 2011

If the preamble -- so aptly titled "Anticipation" -- doesn't make you sit right down on the floor of your library or bookstore to see what Morgenstern conjures up next, you may not be the right reader for this novel. I'll wager, however, that you will fall quickly under her spell.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by THOM GEIER on Sep 14 2011

In a fantasy realm in which just about anything can be made to happen, what does transpire shouldn’t feel as arbitrary as it sometimes does here. Celia’s and Marco’s fates ought to seem inevitable, not the result of authorial sleight of hand.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Weinman on Sep 16 2011

What holds The Night Circus back from being a full-fledged triumph is a sense that Morgenstern herself is holding back.

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All About Romance

Above average
Reviewed by Jean Wan on Jun 29 2015

I find the book enjoyably readable but very imbalanced, a feast of words that borders on self-indulgence.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Sep 13 2011

When Celia calls their circus a “wonder and comfort and mystery all together,” she could have been talking about this book.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Simmy Richman on Oct 02 2011

The spell is broken when the story starts leaping backwards and forwards in time...Suddenly, no sentence is allowed to contain a contraction and the dialogue clunks louder than a 1970s advert for seatbelts.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Nicholas Tucker on Sep 25 2011

...despite the fact that his name is Prospero, ploughing through the story of him and his daughter is reminiscent not so much of The Tempest as of a mild but persistent attack of trapped wind.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Beth Jones on Sep 14 2011

The novel itself, however, fails to impart any real sense of wonder...This is no vibrant Dickensian homage nor subverted Carter-esque fairy tale.

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The Bookbag

Excellent
Reviewed by Laura Ketley on Sep 01 2011

I'm not often lost for words, but I'm struggling to find the words to describe just how good this book is and how it made me feel, so I'll just say this: if you are only able to read one book for the rest of your life, make sure it is 'The Night Circus'. You won't regret it.

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USA Today

Below average
Reviewed by Patty Rhule on Sep 10 2011

Cynics might say this story...borrows a lot from the Harry Potter and Twilight blockbuster series. Circus even has red-headed twins almost as mischievous as Potter's Weasley twins.

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Dallas News

Good
Reviewed by Joy Tipping on Sep 23 2011

That last line is an excellent summation of The Night Circus. It’s sumptuous, irresistible and just creepy enough. The author makes splendid way for a sequel, which readers will start craving before they finish this book.

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PopMatters

Above average
Reviewed by MICHELLE WELCH on Oct 06 2011

The Night Circus proves to be a dazzlingly descriptive and highly imaginative entry in a genre already crowded with spellcasters—no small feat. But its lack of urgency and avoidance of conflict registers as dull and barely smoldering.

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Paste

Below average
Reviewed by Christine Ziemba on Oct 10 2011

The resolution proves a bit confounding, even with re-readings. The happily-ever-after doesn’t appear to be quite what it seems, but maybe that’s Morgenstern’s point

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Hypable

Good
Reviewed by JEN LAMOUREUX on Aug 25 2011

The Night Circus is a well crafted enchanting debut novel. Erin Morgenstern invites you into a circus that could only be found in dreams.

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The Celebrity Cafe

Below average
Reviewed by Joanna Fantozzi on Mar 30 2012

I truly wish that Celia and Marco’s love was more believable, or that the unnecessary jumping around in time was abandoned.

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Huffington Post

Good
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on Oct 18 2011

Regardless of whether it’s the reader who’s fallen in love with the book, or the book that’s cast a spell over the reader, there’s clearly something about this story that has defied both the current downturn in book sales figures and the power of the review.

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NY Daily News

Excellent
Reviewed by Sherryl Connelly on Sep 18 2011

it's possible for a reader to float through its pages immersed in awe as they would through her fictional Le Cirque des Revˆs.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Weinman on Sep 16 2011

Underneath the icy polish of her prose, Morgenstern well understands what makes The Night Circus tick: that Marco and Celia, whether in competition or in love, are part of a wider world they must engage with but also transcend. It’s a world whose mystique and enigma is hard to shake off, and that invites multiple visits.

Read Full Review of The Night Circus | See more reviews from National Post arts

Fantasy Book Review

Above average
Reviewed by Michelle Herbert on Jan 05 2017

For a debut novelist I believe Erin Morgenstern has made a very good first impression. The Night Circus is a strong story which has the tendency to drift into the unbelievable but when is it not nice to suspend disbelief and and fall into a story.

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The Blue Bookcase

Below average
Reviewed by Christina

Overall, the plot didn't blow me away and there weren't strong themes I could extrapolate and apply to life in general.

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Reading on a Rainy Day

Good
Reviewed by Athira on Mar 28 2012

This is one of those books you have to read twice if you want to solve all the mysteries within. You know, like one of those rereads, where you go "aha, so that's why she did so-and-so".

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The Lit B***h

Good
Reviewed by The Lit Bitch on Feb 07 2012

The story is breathtaking and bewitched me without even knowing it….a beautifully crafted tale of love and magic that is truly wondrous to behold.

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http://blogs.slj.com

Good
Reviewed by Angela Carstensen on Aug 16 2011

When Celia and Marco finally meet face-to-face, they fall in love. Will they ever be free of their mentors, free to be together? Teens are the perfect audience for their story, especially since the circus has a strange effect on time and they seem to remain forever young.

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https://booksellersnz.wordpress.com

Above average
Reviewed by Emma McCleary on Oct 06 2011

The Night Circus is rich and beautiful and engaging. When you’re reading just trust that the author has got the dates and time references right even if the Victorian-era setting doesn’t lend much to the plot.

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http://roofbeamreader.com

Good
Reviewed by Roof Beam Reader on Sep 30 2011

...it was wonderful to learn about circus worlds/terms/ideals via this book. I found myself enamored by the setting which was just as much a protagonist than the characters.

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https://bookmunch.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by Valerie O’Riordan on May 14 2012

If you’re looking for dark magic, Morgenstern’s hints (the binding, the end-game) probably won’t be enough for you – this is a book that suggests, rather than provides, fear. But if you want a mesmerising, sumptuous read with a liberal handful of honest-to-goodness wizardry, just wait for dusk then step right up.

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https://historicalnovelsociety.org

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Brockmole on Nov 01 2011

Morgenstern’s Victorian London is fanciful and moody, Le Cirque des Rêves so atmospheric I can almost taste the caramel corn and smell the bonfire. I’m a self-avowed skimmer of world-building in novels, but I was unexpectedly lost in those black-and-white striped tents.

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Books: A True Story

Excellent
Reviewed by Jessica on Aug 26 2013

The Night Circus is storytelling at its best. Right from page one, the circus is brought to life by talking to you, the reader, as if you were actually there.

Read Full Review of The Night Circus

Book Nerd

Above average
Reviewed by Giselle on Jan 25 2015

The pacing is so slow. So very slow in the beginning that I had trouble even sticking to the book. Everything has been set up perfectly but the story doesn’t start to pick up until you get halfway in the book. At which point I was finally invested in the story.

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My Cup and Chaucer Blog

Excellent
on Jan 08 2012

Quite simply, this was one of the most beautiful, mysterious and evocative books I have ever read. The spell the book creates is impossible to remove yourself from even after the final page is finished.

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http://theyoungfolks.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Gabrielle Bondi on Sep 29 2011

The Night Circus is a piece of magical literature. It was such an experience reading it, and I can’t recommend it enough to everyone. It has adventure, mystery, history, fantasy and romance. On top of that, it’s very well-written.

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The Review Diaries

Above average
Reviewed by Rosy on Oct 05 2015

Who Should Read It? Everyone. It is possibly not the most attractive writing style for younger readers, but the content is suitable for all ages. All you really need is a love of magic and beautiful prose and this one is a must read.

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BELLA'S BOOKSHELVES

Above average
on Jan 05 2017

I must admit that in writing about The Night Circus, I feel overwhelmed by what to say, by the story and all those stories within, and I feel like telling you to never mind reviews, just read it. It’s easier that way.

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Short & Sweet Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Van Pham on Jul 21 2015

Overall, The Night Circus was a solid and enjoyable read. Like many reviewers stated, The Night Circus is a slow paced book, with the occasional flashbacks and jumps in different narratives… but I still think it’s a book that everyone should read at least once in their life.

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Eating Bender Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on Jun 03 2013

This is the kind of book that you can’t read in a day (at least for me), not because it didn’t grab my attention enough, but because it really deserves to be read carefully and with attention to detail.

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Janicu's Book Blog

Above average
on Jul 13 2012

The Night Circus was a fairytale steeped with visual wonder, but like all fairytales, even though there was love, loss, and even impending doom, I felt removed, like I was reading it through the lens of “this couldn’t possibly be real”. It really is a circus of dreams.

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http://authorexposure.com

Good
Reviewed by Traci on Sep 28 2011

I highly recommend The Night Circus to all readers. It has a great storyline at the surface and an even greater one if you look deeper into it.

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https://bookmonkeyscribbles.wordpress.com

Good
on Sep 08 2011

I didn’t connect with them as well as I felt I should have. Needless to say these are very small gripes and I still loved this novel. If you love beautiful language and imaginative stories then this is one for you.

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Book Club In A Box

Above average
on Jan 05 2017

Despite issues with pacing, The Night Circus reaches its climax with enough foreshadowing in place to make the whole intoxicating journey worthwhile.

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https://cannonballread4.wordpress.com

Above average
Reviewed by amurph11 on Oct 22 2012

Read When: you’re in the mood to shut down your critical faculties for the night and just enjoy some really great escapist description. Recommended For: People who dabble in fantasy, but aren’t die-hard fans. Too many holes in the magical universe for actual fantasy fans.

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Infinite Reads

Above average
Reviewed by euphqueen1 on Feb 12 2012

...its many narrative flaws aside, I really like The Night Circus and will not be asking for a refund of my admission price.

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Reader Rating for The Night Circus
84%

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Abigail Chambers 1 Mar 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Danica 7 Mar 2013

The time skipping was rather confusing, but it was a great read. The descriptions are beautiful, the setting is breathtaking, and the characters are mysterious enough to keep me reading. I highly s...

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Julia Linde 2 May 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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danielle evans 8 Jan 2016

Has read the book

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danielle evans 8 Jan 2016

Liked the book

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Added the book to want to read list

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