The Night Circus

I read the book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, for Julie’s January book club, and am writing a  short summary and review on it.


From the book:


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.


The Night Circus is essentially told from the view of three characters: Celia, Marco, and Bailey.

We first met Celia when she is five years old and goes to live with her magician father because her mother has committed suicide. We learn that Celia’s father, Prospero the Enchanter, is truly magical, performing real magic rather than tricks. Celia has inherited her father’s special talents.

We meet Marco when he is adopted by Alexander, a competitor of Prospero’s, and he is taught throughout his life how to perform magic. Marco and Celia ended up binded together in a magical competition by Prospero and Alexander.

The stage for the competition is The Night Circus, which to the average eye appears like a real circus, but is however, a truly magical circus.

The two must compete until only one is left standing. But how can that be possible when Celia and Marco fall in love?

The final character whose viewpoint we read throughout the story is Bailey. Bailey starts out as a young child who enters the circus when it’s closed as a dare and from then on he is enchanted by the circus. He goes back to the circus as a teenager and befriends two of the young circus stars – Poppet and Widget.

My Thoughts

My first reaction was to compare this book to Water For Elephants because they are both about circuses. But it became apparent right from the start that the two stories are like apples and oranges. Water for Elephants gives a true account to how things actually happened in the circus, whereas The Night Circus is about a magic circus, therefore everything is done magically.

I really liked how this book was written - Morgenstern paints a beautiful picture with her words and you can’t help but feel like your actually in the book. She is throughly descriptive.

I enjoyed the story line about two people who were forced into a lifelong competition at a young age that neither one of them agreed to and then fall in love. You want to keep reading to find out what’s going to happen to Celia and Marco.

And at first, I didn’t really understand how Bailey’s character fit into the story, but by the end it all falls into place.

The only things that I didn’t like was how the author didn’t go into more depth about the competition between Marco and Celia. Basically, they just go back and forth creating magical things. There wasn’t any true competition because the two didn’t oppose each other, they worked with one another. Then again, maybe that was the whole point.

Bottom line, I thought that this book was a truly magical, suspenseful love story.


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3 Responses to The Night Circus

  1. Pingback: The Night Circus | Peanut Butter Fingers

  2. I also LOVED it. I think Imight have enjoyed the Bailey/Poppet/Widget storyline best though, is that weird?

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