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The Night Circus

Written by: Erin Morgenstern
Narrated by: Jim Dale
Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (215 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Erin Morgenstern (P)2011 Random House

What the critics say

" The Night Circus made me happy. Playful and intensely imaginative, Erin Morgenstern has created the circus I have always longed for, and she has populated it with dueling love-struck magicians, precocious kittens, hyper-elegant displays of beauty, and complicated clocks. This is a marvelous book." (Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife)
"Self-assured, entertaining debut that blends genres and crosses continents in quest of magic…. Generous in its vision and fun to read. Likely to be a big book—and, soon, a big movie, with all the franchise trimmings." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love... a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom. This is an electric debut on par with Special Topics in Calamity Physics." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A magical love story

I love this book, and Jim Dale's reading brings it to life. It is a true love story set amidst a magical circus, with a parallel story of one boy's love of the circus. True storytelling; I have listened to this countless times and I never tire of it. Recommended for: romantics, and those who love magic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Must-Read for All those Craving a little Magic!

This is a must-read for all lover of magic, illusion and romance.
Erin Mogenstien suspends reality and draws in the reader with a descript narrative involving all the senses making you wish it wasn't a work of fiction and you to could visit the tents of the Cirque des Rêves. The characters are unique and colourful, a strong contrast to the black and white setting of the circus which in itself is wonderful to imagine. As always Jim Dale brings each character to life with his unique voice acting and is a credit to the reading of this wonderful story.


#Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lex
  • 2017-11-11

Jim Dale is such a wonderful narrator

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although likely more thanks to Jim Dales wonderful reading. He makes wonderful theatre of the stories he presents.
This book did an excellent job of setting a scene. I loved the visuals, its waa very beautiful.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

A wonderfully magical story that slowly unravels but still leaves you with a few unanswered questions at the end. Jim Dale’s performance was perfect, giving voice to the many different characters throughout the story.

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wonderful story

I thoroughly enjoyed the story loved it very much did not want it to end

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Captivating

A marvelous story with diverse characters. Intrigue, philosophy, lust, and multiple reversals of gender norms, to name some highlights.

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phenomenal book!

I loved it! the way the author writes about the circus with such passion! makes you really want to go to it! amazing overall

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Enchanting

The word enchanting was made to describe this book. The writing is so atmospheric and honestly.. magical.

I was skeptical going in, as I haven't read YA in years and didn't think I would enjoy anything branded as such. However, it has been listed numerously as a must-read audiobook, and I am so glad I took a chance on it.

I think it is extremely interesting as, just how in the novel itself the Circus is more than just a Circus and even gains more importance at the end of the story, similarly, in this book the Circus is not just a setting but almost becomes the plot itself-- in this book, you follow the progression of the circus from the challenge that necesitates it, to it's inception with Chandresh, to its years of operation and finally the rebirth with Bailey. Which I think added to the beautiful, atmopsheric nature-- that the setting wasn't just a backdrop, but a living breathing character.

I also didn't enjoy the ending, but compared to how much I loved the rest of the book, it is still a five star book for me.

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Great Book

I loved this book. The story is great and anything that's read by Jim Dale is going to be good. Can't wait for The Starless Sea to come out in November

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love it

one of my favourite books. would definitly recommend. this book feels like home. the performers voices can sometimes be hard to distinguish which character is speaking but you get used to it and it doesn't get in the way of the story of understanding.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dayle
  • Hoover, Al, United States
  • 2015-05-03

Meh

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I tried. I really did. After halfway thru I gave up. It just did not grab me. I kept waiting for something to coalesce with the story, the characters, but it just left me with loose ends. Great premise. Great characters, but too muddy for my taste. Im aware that not all readers are the same, and obviously many loved it. Fantastic narration....

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2011-09-22

The circus of your dreams

This was one of the most wonderful books I've ever heard. A feast for the ears. The story is fantastically imaginative, the prose is richly visual, I could see all the details of the circus and smell the popcorn and caramel. I wanted to visit the circus myself! The narrator does a wonderful job bringing everything to life. I didn’t want it to end. Once it was over, I couldn’t wait to listen again. This is everything an audiobook should be - try it, you won't be sorry.

235 of 254 people found this review helpful

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  • Suzn F
  • Fletcher, VT, US
  • 2011-09-18

Dreamlike Experience to Savor

This story envelops the reader. I cannot think of another book I have so thoroughly relished. With each and every sentence the author invites you to feel, taste and smell the Night Circus.This circus is like nothing else, beyond imagination. Yet I could see myself there, and although the circus is in only black and white, I was immersed in color and texture. Listening to this story is like eating the most amazing meal in the most beautiful placed you can imagine while sitting next to someone with whom you are infatuated. What a wonderful dream, I want to return and feel it all again, so sad when the book ended. And the narration brings it all alive, kudos to both author and narrator.

253 of 279 people found this review helpful

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  • Grant
  • NANTUCKET, MA, United States
  • 2012-04-18

Something about this book bothered me.

It was a pleasant diversion. And well crafted. But for some reason, I was not pulled into this book as others have been. Jim Dale's performance, as usual, was great. But perhaps I would have liked it more if it had been read by a woman. Maybe the thing that bothers me most about this book is that the premise was more mechanical than emotional. Maybe I did not cotton to the rather cryptic and largely unexplained (until the end, and even then not very well explained) bargain struck at the beginning of the book. Maybe the characters were less than three-dimensional. Maybe it just felt like it was made up as it went along ??? like a children's impromptu story. I don't know. All I do know is that The Night Circus did not thrill me. And I really did want to be thrilled.

174 of 194 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 2012-09-28

The Circus is Coming!

Within moments of beginning this recording my toes began curling with pleasure and I felt cozy comforters being tucked in around me. This is an extraordinary story with extraordinary narration. Some might describe this story as dark, but a story which is uniformly uplifting can not be dark. Some describe the story as a romance, but a romance is seldom as nuanced. Is it a fantasy? Is it an allegory? Is it a retelling? It does not really matter, for this is a very good story. There is little action and little romance but a bouquet of delightful imagery. I found the story evoking archetypal memories that were familiar and comforting. If you prefer a fast moving story with lots of action, this is not the book for you. I loved the images, the slow even pace, and especially the circus. I suspect this book has forever changed the way I will feel whenever I think of a circus.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

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  • Theodore
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • 2012-01-04

It does feel magical

The narrator made this book for me. The story itself is a pretty cool, I like the concept and it was just plain fun to listen to. I think the pace of the story slows down a lot of times and as much as some of the other characters were developed, I could see greater development still being done or more side plots being created to compensate for the rather slow pace of the story sometimes. Still though, fascinating book to listen to and you really do get a sense that you are in a magical place...

79 of 89 people found this review helpful

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  • Victoria
  • 2011-09-19

Deliciously Imaginative

This beautifully descriptive book could not come out during a better season when the imagination is already a tingle for Halloween. This world created by Ms. Morgenstern rolls out the red carpet for characters are rich and strong in their own right. This is a book that will always be on my iPod.

93 of 105 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Modesto, CA
  • 2012-07-02

I had high hopes for this one - unfortunately.

I don't normally read these kinds of books, but the reviews were great. A lot of listeners loved the book. I didn't. The story had a lot of promise, but the characters that ended up being the ones focused on had a good beginning, a poor conclusion and a soft middle-story. The descriptions were good, but didn't add too much to the plot of the story. There was also a weird digression into the occult that added nothing to the story and was a little annoying. The narrator was excellent; the story itself had promise. The descriptions were good but didn't build the story as well as they could have.
For me, this was a case of a bad fit. It's a case of "everything is not for everyone." You may enjoy this book. I wouldn't recommend the book, though.

109 of 124 people found this review helpful

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  • Pam
  • West Covina, CA, United States
  • 2011-09-21

Magic

A complex story, it goes from locations in time to locations in the world. It is a story of love and of hubris. There are secrets that have you hanging- why? what is going on? It is a real world, fully realized, of things that cannot exist, but do. Add to that Mr. Dale's inimitable style and voice characterizations, and this is a winner. This is one of my best books of the year- audio or written.

64 of 73 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Eugenia
  • Chatsworth, CA, US
  • 2013-05-06

Some Magical, Some Not So Magical

There is a lot to enjoy in this book, but also much that fell flat despite my expectations especially after reading the glowing reviews.

The Magical:

Descriptions of the circus were truly amazing. How beautifully written it was with the sights and sounds and especially, the smells. How unique to focus on the scents and how powerful it created the reality.

Overall the writing was very well done.

The Not-So-Magical:

While many reviewers were taken by the depth of the characters, I found just the opposite. For the most part, they were pretty one dimensional as they interacted with each other and in the realm of the circus.

The competition went nowhere. A huge build-up throughout the book that I expected to culminate in an apocalypse of some kind, but only quietly and gently ended.

And I had no idea about Jim Dale narrating the Harry Potter series, but I found this book to be very reminiscent of Harry Potter in tone and style.

But this last point seems to differ with every other reviewer. I found Jim Dale's narration to be rather difficult to hear the story or the characters. His tone sounded sinister and I kept hearing sinister characters and bad things about to happen. His voice especially for the female characters was terrible. Sorry.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful