The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Laura Ketley
Reviewed by Laura Ketley
Summary: Mysterious and magical. Book of the Year.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Harvill Secker
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846555237

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Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012

The Night Circus moves from town to town; appearing with no warning, no announcements. The attractions seem impossible – a carousel with breathing animals, handkerchiefs that turn into birds in front of the watchful eyes of the audience, doors that appear and disappear. In the middle of it all are Celia, the daughter of a famous illusionist, and Marco, the apprentice of a mysterious magician. From a young age the lovers have been destined to compete against each other using their unusual skills to win a prize that neither of them understands; and an end that will leave only one standing.

Every few months we hear about a book that is set to become the next Harry Potter or Twilight. Every time we are disappointed. So when I heard the same being said about The Night Circus I was sceptical. The reason that Harry Potter and Twilight have done so well is that they draw us in until we can't see outside of the book any more. It's really difficult to do and very rare; but somehow The Night Circus manages this too.

It is really difficult to describe why this book is so good. I don't know if it's the characters – so likeable and yet you never feel that you really know them very well, that no matter how much you find out about them, there is still much more to know; or the description which had my mouth watering at the thought of caramel popcorn and dreaming of tents full of stars when I slept at night. Whatever it is, from the first page I was completely lost in the world of The Night Circus.

Whenever I read a book, no matter how hard I try, I never forget that I am reading a book written by someone who came up with an idea, agonised over the words to describe what they could see in their head, edited it, sent it off to a publisher, etc. But The Night Circus doesn't feel made up at all even though it is a fantasy story; when I was reading this I felt like I was watching it happen in front of me. Somehow Morgenstern has taken the images of the circus that I had in my head as a child and made it feel real again.

I'm not often lost for words, but I'm struggling to find the words to describe just how good this book is and how it made me feel, so I'll just say this: if you are only able to read one book for the rest of your life, make sure it is 'The Night Circus'. You won't regret it.

Thank you to Random House publishers for sending us this fantastic book to review.

Further Reading: Anything by Neil gaiman – particularly The Graveyard Book.

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Buy The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern at


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