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October 14, 2011 / Leslie

Review & Giveaway: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover | 400 pages
Rating: 4 of 5

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.

The circus itself is a stage, a venue, for a competition between two young magicians who have been trained in illusion and magic from an early age. They are destined to bring the game to its conclusion; neither is allowed to quit. But what was not supposed to happen was that they would fall in love.

This is a beautifully written story, a fairy tale filled with magic and mystery. Through Erin Morgenstern’s descriptive prose it was effortless to see the enchanting black and white circus. The imagery is so vivid I could imagine myself walking along the paths between the circus tents and entering the fantasy world she has created.

As beautiful and visually captivating the story was, I could not feel the same way about the characters. They were overshadowed by the brilliance of the circus itself. I could not feel the passion, the intensity, that was supposed to be there for Celia and Marco, the two young magicians. One of the many secondary characters, Bailey, a young visitor to the circus who is befriended by several of the performers, was one of the more interesting and developed characters.

This book was a slower than usual read for me, partly because I wanted to soak in the imagery and partly due to the confusing timeline. The story is not told in a linear fashion. There are many short chapters with no clue as to where we are in time or space other than the chapter heading with the date and city. Often I’d have to flip back a few pages to find out where we were. There were two stories that intersected in the final section of the book but we could have done with a little less back and forth in time.

In spite of my critique I genuinely enjoyed the book. I wish the characters would have been a little more richly constructed, but for me The Circus was the star and it shone brightly.

About The Author

Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist, who describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” She lives in Massachusetts. Visit her at her Website and Blog.

Giveaway Information

Thanks to Doubleday Books I have two copies of The Night Circus to give away to my readers.

  • Contest is open to US addresses only, no PO Boxes.
  • To enter leave a comment. You don’t have to be a subscriber to enter, but new subscribers are always appreciated. Be sure to include your email address in the comment form.
  • Contest closes at midnight, Sunday, October 23rd. I will draw 2 winners using Winners will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address.
  • The book will be shipped by the publisher.

[Contest Now Closed]

Winners are Mary DeBorde and Marci J.
Review copy provided by Doubleday Books.


Leave a Comment
  1. sagustocox / Oct 14 2011 4:19 am

    Exciting…I’m one of those new lurkers thanks to BBAW. I have been following this book around trying to win a copy. Maybe this is the time. I love these atmospheric/fantasy novels. I want to be lost in a new world. Thank you for your honest review. please enter me. savvyverseandwit at gmail


  2. Karen B / Oct 14 2011 5:46 am

    I’m not a reader of fantasy novels but most everyone has raved about this book so – I think I should give it a try! Great review.


  3. Carol M / Oct 14 2011 7:03 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book! I’d love to read it! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com


  4. Mona / Oct 14 2011 7:34 am

    I’ve been seeing this nook around the blogosphere and I would live to check it out. Thanks for the chance.

    Email subscriber



  5. karenk / Oct 14 2011 9:44 am

    thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous novel…i’m an email subscriber, too 🙂


  6. anovelreview1 / Oct 14 2011 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! Too bad about the characters not standing out more, I can see how that would slow my reading down too. Thanks for the honest review! I would very much like to win a copy!

    Laura Kay


  7. Suko / Oct 14 2011 12:57 pm

    Thanks for your honest review. The Circus may be a “character” itself. I would like to read this book, Leslie. Please enter me in the giveaway. I will post this in my blog’s sidebar. 🙂



  8. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) / Oct 14 2011 1:21 pm

    No need to enter me, as I’ve already read it. Sounds like we had similar thoughts; the writing was good, the circus was great, but the characters could have been developed more. I still loved it, though.


  9. BermudaOnion / Oct 14 2011 2:22 pm

    Everyone loves this book so much that I’m a little scared to read it. No need to enter me.


  10. WordsAndPeace / Oct 14 2011 3:04 pm

    thanks so much fro this giveaway. I’m currently listening to this book, and would enjoy having a copy for friends. Emma @ Words And Peace, a faithful follower. ehc16e at yahoo dot com


  11. Britt T. / Oct 14 2011 3:06 pm

    Count me in please!



  12. Chris / Oct 14 2011 8:45 pm

    Thanks for your review. I completely agree. I had a really hard time following the timeline when listening to the audio version. I thought the paper version might be easier.


  13. windicindi / Oct 14 2011 9:48 pm

    Since this book arrived on the scene, I have read many interesting reviews…
    I think this book is right down my alley!
    Many thanks, Cindi


  14. Katie / Oct 14 2011 10:57 pm

    I seriously cannot wait to read read this. I have heard sooo many great things about it. thanks for the giveaway!



  15. Heather Robbins / Oct 14 2011 11:20 pm

    I have heard nothing but great things about this, and I have been wanting to get my hands on a copy just haven’t yet. Thanks for the chance to win it 🙂

    supagurlheather @ gmail. com


  16. Shellie / Oct 15 2011 5:33 am

    I am so looking forward to this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
    layersofthought (at)gmail(dot)com.


  17. Jayme@Beachreader / Oct 15 2011 7:36 am

    I have been hearing such rave reviews it is nice to read a more balanced review.
    Thanks for the giveaway and I am a new follower 🙂



  18. Steph / Oct 15 2011 11:00 am

    I just found your blog via the Literary Blog Hop, and I’m really enjoying going back through your older posts! So glad to have found you!

    I would love to be considered for this giveaway… I’ve heard so many different things about this book but am starting to feel really left out!


  19. Christine A. / Oct 15 2011 12:19 pm

    I would love to win this book. Thanks for the giveaway.


  20. Shelley / Oct 15 2011 3:58 pm

    Wonderful! I’ve heard such wonderful things about how this book looks and feels, not to mention the great story. Thanks for the chance to win!


  21. Jer / Oct 15 2011 4:37 pm

    I have heard great things about this book and its been hyped up alot. Thanks for the chance to win this book 🙂


  22. readerbuzz / Oct 16 2011 8:46 am

    I absolutely never win anything, but I thought I’d at least try to win this one, since it’s a book I almost bought last Tuesday at Wal-Mart.

    I have a little giveaway going each month on my blog. I’d love to have you stop by and throw your name into the hat for it. Or, perhaps, read my Sunday Salon post today….


  23. Renee Richardson / Oct 16 2011 5:46 pm

    I recently heard about this book and I am so intrigued. Thanks for the incredible giveaway 🙂

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com


  24. Mary DeBorde / Oct 16 2011 7:26 pm

    Hi there 😀

    I am new to your wonderful blog, just out bouncing around the book blogging world lol
    Thank you for such a super-duper-sweet giveaway!!! *YAY* – I’ve been wanting to read/own
    The Night Circus ever since I saw it’s amazing cover!

    Just signed up to follow you via email~
    Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com


  25. Kara DiDomizio / Oct 17 2011 10:17 pm

    This sounds great! I’ve heard so many stellar reviews about this and saw it on the front page of the WSJ in September or so. I’m really excited about this one. Fantastic opportunity! Thank you so much for posting it on here !
    Just signed up & subscribed!
    Kara D


  26. Marci J / Oct 18 2011 8:17 am

    sounds fascinating – I’ve read several good reviews of this book. Would love the chance to read it myself! fingers crossed


  27. Sheila (Book Journey) / Oct 18 2011 11:05 pm

    I am adding your giveaway to the end of my review…. great giveaway Leslie!


  28. Judy / Oct 19 2011 8:37 am

    Just found your blog via Sheila (Book Journey) Looking forward to reading more of your blog. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book – didn’t get into the Harry Potter series, but this sounds intriguing.


  29. theoncominghope / Oct 19 2011 11:22 am

    I was actually quite disappointed with the book.

    There were too many descriptive passages that didn’t add anything to the story, and actually distracted from the circus itself.

    My review is here, if you are interested:


  30. Carol / Oct 19 2011 1:16 pm

    I just love the sound of this, even if the characters themselves aren’t as compelling as they could be. I actually appreciate reading a review that points out some not so stellar parts of the book, it helps keep my expectations in check.

    Thanks for entering me.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com


  31. Debi Swim / Oct 20 2011 6:42 pm

    I have heard so much about this book and do plan to read it. Thanks for entering me in the contest. Good luck to me : )


  32. Margie / Oct 20 2011 8:38 pm

    I have read several good reviews for this book. THanks for the giveaway.


  33. The Book and Movie Dimension blogger / Oct 23 2011 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! Want to read so much.
    Email: hernandezcassandra50 (at) yahoo (dot) com



  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern « Book Journey
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern « The Sleepless Reader

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