Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern
Publication Date: September 13th 2011 by Doubleday
Rating: |

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.

Review Overview:

  • Morgenstern is a gifted writer; her prose is like no other
  • Fantastic, heart-wrenching love story
  • Unforgettable world-building that will transport you to the turn of the 19th century

I debated whether or not to review this one. It’s not YA and it’s not a romance novel. But eventually, I realized that I do have a bit to say about it, so I might as well just write them out.

First of all, I don’t think it would be fair if I summarized the novel for you. I think part of the enjoyment that comes with reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS is experiencing the circus for yourself like the audience members attending the Night Circus for the very first time in the book. There’s  fun and excitement opening up the first few pages of the novel, not knowing what quite to expect but knowing that something good has to lie between the covers.

What I will tell you is that THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a love story, and it is a fantastic one at that. I loved the chemistry and tension between Marco and Celia. I think it was very easy to put one’s self into Celia’s shoes. I easily empathized with Celia, and I definitely felt my heart breaking whenever hers did. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a rollercoaster of so many different emotions: passion, excitement, betrayal, and more. It’s hard to predict what will happen in the book, and that uncertainty was quite depressing. Would it end with a Happily Ever After? As a reader, I was uncertain until the very end.

Love the world-building. Morgenstern’s writing just transports you to the turn of the 19th century England and New York. Morgenstern is so descriptive and you can’t help but feel like you’re part of the story. Her descriptions of the circus are rich and vivid. It’s a circus like no other, but she explains every tent, nook, and cranny so beautifully.

This has little to do with the book, but more to reviewers and critics. I think it’s quite unfair to compare THE NIGHT CIRCUS to Harry Potter. While THE NIGHT CIRCUS was – no doubt – beautifully written, you can’t just compare it to Harry Potter. THE NIGHT CIRCUS isn’t even a children’s novel!!! Besides that, the only other similarities between the two is that David Heyman, producer of the Potter films, is in talks to produce the film adaptation of THE NIGHT CIRCUS. But before I digress even more….

Overall, THE NIGHT CIRCUS is one of the best books that I’ve read this year. Morgenstern crafted a beautiful novel. It exceeded my expectations, but I wouldn’t go out as far to say that it is the next Harry Potter. Nonetheless, I have pushed this book to several people already, and I can imagine continuing to encourage others to pick it up.

Why I’m Biased: I’m obviously biased against books that have been compared against Harry Potter. There was also a lot of hype around this book.

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 grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two very fluffy cats.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads


  1. I’ve heard so many good things about this book. But ahh, I’m still not sure if I should read it. I mean, I want to, but it seems like a fairly long book!

    1. Yeah, it is quite long, but I read it fairly quickly. I think it’s definitely worth the hype and worth picking up.

  2. I have heard many good things about this book but wasn’t too interested in it because I have been told its not an action books its more of one of those beautifully written, descriptive, emotional reads which I don’t mind I have been known to enjoy these kind of reads but its not ones I put high on my TBR list. Still, its is on my wishlist so hopefully someone gets me this for Christmas if they do get me a book because I am interested to see why so much people love it :)

  3. I enjoyed the Night Circus and picked it up because of the hype and the HP comparison.The book really stands on its own and Morgenstern is a great writer.

    I can’t believe David Heymen is producing. I can see it now : “From the producers of Harry Potter . . .”

Leave a Reply