The Night Circus

The Night Circus


Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Series: N/A

Publisher: Vintage Books, Random House

Release Date: September 13th 2011

Rating:

Five Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

Taking his time, as though he has all of it in the world, in the universe, from the days when tales meant more than they do now, but perhaps less than they will someday, he draws a breath that releases the tangled knot of words in his heart, and they fall from his lips effortlessly.
“The circus arrives without warning.”

The Night Circus is an enchanting tale that I found hard to put down. Beautifully written with a magical setting and charming characters I was left wanting more from this story where anything is possible. When we first meet Celia she is a child dropped on her father’s doorstep before the circus is even the glimmer of a dream. Hector Bowen, Prospero the Enchanter, is a cruel man; he had no desire to parent a child but when he sees the raw talent for magic Celia has inherited from him he sees an opportunity.

Calling on his old mentor Mr A.H., the two agree on the terms of the duel. As Celia is trained by her father Marco is plucked from an orphanage and taught the old ways of magic. Celia and Marco never meet whilst their training is underway. It’s only when their dual takes centre stage at the circus that they realize how entwined their lives really are and the depth of the bond the challenge has forged between them.

“Though I have seen a great deal of the sights, travelled a number of the available paths, there are always corners that remain unexplored, doors that remain unopened.”

Both Celia and Marco work their magic, creating fantastical circus tents to impress the guests and each other, but eventually Celia and Marco’s rivalry makes way for deeper feelings. The tents that were once shows of their power and strength become love letters for one another.

However as feelings grow between Celia and Marco their hold on the circus begins to waver and they tread on dangerous ground, edging ever closer towards destruction. We watch as the brilliant yet eccentric Chandresh becomes a shell of his former self as the circus travels the world and the battle between Celia and Marco travels with it. Violence enters the circus for the first time and the people who have been touched by its wonder and fantasy are suddenly in very real danger.

There are not enough words to fully describe how much I loved this book. As I read the story seemed to take on a life of its own, spanning several years and connecting characters that have nothing more in common than the circus. The loose plot strings you discount as irrelevant in the beginning of the story end up coming together and weaving an intricate tale of wonder and fantasy.

…The Characters

“I have you here, all around me. I sit in the Ice Garden to get a hint of this, this way that you make me feel. I felt it even before I knew who you were.”

Celia has known since she was a child what her fate held for her when her father entered her in the game. Hector has no love for his daughter, at most he sees her as a pawn, and nothing she ever does seems to be good enough for him. Celia takes a role in the very centre of the circus, and although she doesn’t know who her opponent is she is constantly surrounded by his magic and his creations.

“Everything I have done, every change I have made to that circus, every impossible feat and astounding sight, I have done for her.”

Marco on the other hand figures out very early on who his opponent is, he seems awed by Celia’s strength and slightly worried when he sees how powerful she is. Marco takes a role outside the circus but he is still able to influence its design as Chandresh’s assistant. His distance doesn’t weaken his power, instead he works out a way to keep an eye on the circus and its inhabitants, protecting them the best he can.

Celia and Marco are bound together as children, and at the very beginning their only relationship is that of competitors as they try to outdo one another with the circus as their battleground. However as more time passes the tents they create cease being shows of strength and start becoming shows of devotion. Eventually everything they do is for one another, and instead of working separately they collaborate, adding onto each other’s creations, taking inspiration from the other’s stories, as they fall in love with one another.

“You are not destined or chosen. I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it is not true. You are in the right place, at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that is enough.”

Bailey starts as a simple farm boy, watching the black and white tents from the outside. However as time passes and his life becomes more and more entwined with the circus, and he ends up playing a larger part in the story as Celia’s and Marco’s magic begins to unravel. Bailey is a dreamer, he falls in love with the circus in a way not many people do, and as a result he sees sides to the circus not many people get to experience. His wonder and awe felt a lot like mine as I read this book.

Erin Morgenstern has taken the lives of different characters and tangled their fates together within the grounds of the circus. Every character, no matter how big or small a part they play, have a purpose. From Celia and Marco who have magic and create such amazing illusions, to Bailey and the other patrons who explore the circus and savour the fantasies they find there. The Night Circus is a story that is brilliantly told, and the descriptions make it seem as if you are actually there, exploring the circus and delighting at what you see before you.

…The Setting

“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

The Night Circus spans many years and it can be hard to keep up with all the different story lines in the beginning when there are so many time jumps, but as you keep reading you find yourself becoming immersed deeper and deeper in the world Erin Morgenstern has created. We see the very beginning of Le Cirque des Reves; how the idea was born and how the very best creators and entertainers were found to make it into something truly magical. We see the very first time Celia and Marco meet and how their love story develops, each of them creating more and more tents for the other. Gardens where everything is made of ice, a pool of tears where people can drop all of their grief and heartache and leave feeling lighter. Winding labyrinths, wishing trees and children’s dreams stored in jars. Every tent has something amazing hidden inside. We see Le Cirque des Reves as it travels the world, touching the lives of the people who visit; including the reader.


Have you ever read a book that was so beautifully written that it left you speechless, a book that made you want to crawl into the pages and live within the world created there forever? For me, The Night Circus is that book. No matter how many times I re-read it it never loses the wonder and magic I experienced the first time I picked it up.

What did you think of The Night Circus? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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58 thoughts on “The Night Circus

    1. It’s amazing Lauren, if I could only pick one book to say is my all-time favourite it would probably be this one. Going in blind to The Night Circus is the best way to read it and I hope you end up really enjoying it as well. It’s an experience like no other. 😀 ❤

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  1. YES TO ALL OF THIS. I loved it so much, it was so magical and beautifully intricate in a way that is hard to come by. It took me a bit to adjust I think when I first read it, but when I did it was utterly magical and I could not escape ahah, I loved the characters and how their stories intertwined and just ahhhhhhh SO GREAT. Your review makes me want to reread it now, it’s been a while since I read it actually. Lovely review!! 💞💞

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    1. Ha, I’m glad you agree with my thoughts on this book Analee! 😀 ❤
      Honestly there's been nothing else like this book released, and I think that's because you can't improve on an original this good. Yeah the time jumps confused me a little at first, but after I got into the book, and every time since that I've re-read it, that hasn't been a problem at all.
      Definitely re-read it Analee, it's a book that could be re-read all the time and still be just as amazing.
      Thanks so much! 🙂 ❤

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  2. Anyone who reads this review will see without a doubt the love you have for this book hahaha! I’m done reading it for the first time and am looking forward to share my own thoughts on it pretty soon! Glad to read about all the things that made you love this book so much! It was quite a unique experience, wasn’t it? 😀

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, yeah. Honestly there aren’t even enough words to describe how much I love this book but I think my review comes close at least! 😀
      Oh that’s great to hear, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your review on that case Lashaan.
      Definitely a unique experience, as much as other books are sometimes compared to this one there’s nothing like it in actual fact. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve kept myself away from reading any reviews of The Night Circus just because I was determined to go in blind but the second I saw that you reviewed it I knew I had to read your review because I know how much you love this book. And I’m glad I did because now I want to read it even more! This book sounds like exactly what I love when I’m reading fantasy and it sounds so magical and beautiful. I haven’t even read it and I think I’m already half in love with the world building just from your descriptions of it. I seriously just need more time to read books because I want to throw this into my TBR for next month but I know I’ll be finishing up the Shades of Magic books then. Either way, I am so reading this after I finish those. (I feel like this fantasy binge is going to end in a slump before long if I keep hoping from one amazing book to the next 😂). Great review as always, Beth!! 💕

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    1. Well on one hand I’m sorry you broke your ‘no reviews’ ban for this book but on the other I’m really glad my review made you want to get around to this book that little bit sooner. It’s is amazing, honestly there aren’t enough words to fully describe how much I loved it, and I hope you love it just as much Melissa! 😀
      The world building was my favourite part of this book, and based on what you said in your last post on fantasy books I reckon you’ll agree with that assessment.
      If it does resort in a fantasy slump then at least it was because of amazing books; first the Shades of Magic series and then The Night Circus definitely apply in this case! 😀
      Thanks so much Melissa. 🙂 ❤

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      1. I have a feeling that I’ll end up loving it. Especially if the world building goes with what I said I loved seeing in fantasy novels. I can never get enough of incredible world building that’s for sure!
        Right? At least I will have read some amazing books. Hopefully it’s a slump that can be cured with a few light contemporaries if it does happen. 😂
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 😊💕

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      2. World building is one of my favourite things in fantasy books, and I think we’ve spoken about this before (we must have) and I had literally no faults with the world-building in The Night Circus so I am sure you’ll agree when you read it. 🙂
        Sometimes it’s nice to pick up some light contemporaries, a break from the heavier fantasy books we always seem to pick up. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s one of my favorite things in fantasy too and we’ve definitely talked about it before. 😊
        It really is. And since I’m going to be going from the Shades of Magic books to The Night Circus and then ACOWAR most likely I will definitely need a few. 😂

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  4. I was BEYOND exited when I saw that you reviewed this book! ❤ After all The Night Circus is one of my all time favourite books and I loved reading about your in-depth thoughts about this book. 😀 This book is definitely one of the most beautifully written books that I have ever read. I just love everything about it! Definitely have to reread it some time soon. Amazing review beth! 🙂

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    1. I thought it was about time given this is one of my all-time favourites as well. I’ve been blogging for a year and a half at this point and still hadn’t gotten around to it.
      Thanks so much Anna. I had so much I wanted to say about this book but managed to say it all concisely. Definitely the most beautifully written book I’ve read as well,
      Definitely re-read it soon.
      Thanks Anna! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had never heard of this until the hype around Caraval really started exploding, and now it seems like everyone is reading it! I didn’t know it was set over a long period and there were time jumps (which is something I always *love* in books) so I’m dying to read it at this stage!

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    1. Caraval was really hyped and plenty of people did compare it to The Night Circus (I definitely saw what they meant) which is great because it did make more people aware of this amazing book.
      Oh it’s a brilliant book, and if you like time jumps and books set over long periods then this is definitely the book for you. I’m sure you’ll love it! 😀

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  6. Beautiful review, Beth, it really shows just how much you loved the book 🙂 I have this on my TBR but have no idea when I’ll read it. It sounds like such a magical book though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! 🙂 Honestly this book is probably my all-time favourite, every time I pick it up there’s something new I fall in love with.
      Well in that case I hope you manage to get around to it soon, and I hope you love it as much as I do as well! 😀 ❤

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  7. OMG I’ve had this on my list for yeaaars and I still haven’t read it but I am struck by how similar The Crown’s Game is to it – even the protagonists seem quite similar in terms of their background and personality? I didn’t much enjoy TCG but The Night Circus does come more highly recommended, so I hope I’ll enjoy it better when the time comes! And the illusion as magic sounds fitting this time, with circus beinf the main theme.

    Great review, Beth! Thanks for renewing my interest in this book. 💕

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    1. In that case I’d highly recommend picking it up soon Reg! It’s probably my all-time favourite book ever. I actually picked up The Crown’s Game because I read somewhere it was ‘perfect for fans of The Night Circus’, it wasn’t but then again I think it’s hard for other books to live up to this one for fans you know? Even though you didn’t like The Crown’s Game I think there’s still a chance you’ll like The Night Circus, the magic did fit better with the setting and like you said it comes highly recommended.
      Thanks so much Reg, and I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did if you decide to pick it up! 😀 ❤

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      1. Oh wow, that’s really high praise coming from you! I’ll definitely keep that in mind and try to push this up my TBR. 🙂

        Yeah, I remember that about TCG! I think most people who have read both TCG and The Night Circus would agree with you – the magic just works better in the latter, and TCG is a bit of a disappointment that way.

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      2. Well this is my all-time favourite standalone book for a reason, but yeah I really do hope you love this one Reg! 🙂
        I almost think TCG tried too hard to be too many things, and all it did was create a battle that just didn’t seem to have anything at stake for the characters. Definitely a disappointment.

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      3. Thanks, Beth! I’ve just put it on my priority TBR – it’s practically on my to-do list now so we’ll see when I get to it. 🙂

        Yeees, I agree. Do you think you’ll pick up the second book? I think it’s about to be released sometime soon…

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      4. That’s all right, and that’s great to hear as well Reg. I can’t wait to see what you think of this one. 😀
        I probably will, but like King’s Cage it’s not at the top of my to-read list or anything. What about you? Do you think you’ll pick it up one day? 🙂

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  8. I haven’t read this book in ages, but it holds a special place in my heart for a funny reason. This was the first book I bought because of social media. I saw the author talking about it — the publisher had retweeted — and I fell in love with the cover.

    I loved this book, but I remember being really disappointed in the ending. I felt it didn’t suit, almost like it was stuck in in a later draft. I honestly don’t remember why though. I think I’m due for a reread!

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    1. I try and re-read it at least once a year, didn’t manage to get around to it last year so figured it was about time I picked it up again. Ohh that’s great to hear. I actually can’t remember what the first book I picked up because of social media was, but at least you ended up loving this one.
      I didn’t feel that way about the ending, but like you said maybe if you re-read it you may feel differently about it. I guess if that much time had passed it may be like reading it for the first time all over again. 🙂

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  9. Fantastic review, Beth! ❤ You know how much I love this book and you basically said everything I would want to say about this book. I think it is absolute perfection and even though I had a hard time keeping up with the various timelines at first, I thought it was absolutely brilliant how Morgenstern write the story by the end. My favorite part of this book is the description of the tents and the magic tricks. Everything about this book is so beautifully crafted and incredibly detailed. You're making me want to re-read it now! This is certainly one of my favorite books and I'm so happy that you've done a review on it! 😀

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    1. Thanks so much Azia, ❤ and yep I think we talked about it when you featured it in your last Top 5 Wednesday post! 😀
      I’m glad you liked my review as well. Honestly I had no complaints whosoever about this book, and it seems like every time I do pick it up there’s something else about it I fall in love with. 🙂
      I didn’t have that much trouble with the time jumps this time around, I honestly can’t remember if I did the first time I picked it up though. I guess re-reading this book and knowing what to expect helped.
      Yes I love that, especially when it talks about them in second person POV so you can imagine you were there as well.
      Definitely re-read it, and then I can read your review for this book! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I can barely muster up a complaint about the book. If anything, it’s just the timeline jumping can be confusing at first but becomes easier to follow further in (or during a second read). Everything else is done perfectly. I gotta pick it up again to experience that magic one more time 🙂
        I’ll let ya know if I decide to post a review! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think given this was one of my many re-reads of this book the time jumps didn’t really faze me, but I guess if you were picking this book up for the first time it may be a little confusing at the beginning.
        Yay, please do. I’d love to see your review for this one! 😀 ❤

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  10. I’m long over due for a re-read Beth! You’re beautiful review has stirred the craving in me. I have been on the hunt for the U.K. Hardcover but it is seriously like finding the 7th Horcrux 😫😫😫 when I do get my hands on a copy, I plan on reading it along to the audiobook I own for the maximum experience 🙌🏼 this book is exactly as you describe it…I do want to crawl into the pages & fall into this world & all of its magic 😃 great review 👌🏼

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    1. In that case I hope you get a chance to re-read it soon then. It’s just as amazing every time I pick it up, and this is a book I’ve re-read a lot so that’s saying something! 🙂
      Oh that does sound tricky. I take it you’ve checked the UK Amazon page right?
      Well I hope you find one soon, reading the book along with the audiobook sounds like it’d be an amazing idea, I may have to try that at some point.
      Thanks so much Lilly! 🙂 ❤

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    1. In that case I hope you manage to get around to it soon and I hope you love it as well.
      Which one is the Vintage cover (this book has so many it’s a little hard to keep track at times!)
      If your library has tons of copies there’s not really an excuse not to. 🙂

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