Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Night Circus” as Want to Read:
The Night Circus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Night Circus

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  438,009 Ratings  ·  50,681 Reviews
A special Halloween edition of Erin Morgenstern's bestselling novel. Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 and selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, The Night Circus is a feast for the senses, a fantasia of magic, mischief and love, an extraordinary blend of fantasy and reality that will dazzle readers young and old.

The circus arrives without warning. No
Kindle Edition, 401 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Doubleday
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Night Circus, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Victor Madsen The short answer is 'Yes. Yes, I would.'
The longer answer is this: The Night Circus is a wonderful book. It has a very ethereal feel to it the whole…more
The short answer is 'Yes. Yes, I would.'
The longer answer is this: The Night Circus is a wonderful book. It has a very ethereal feel to it the whole way through which makes for beautiful visuals and a deliberate sense that while you're in that world, you're on a different plane of existence.
There's nothing graphic, brutal, or disturbing, but there are parts that are inescapably sinister - and this is by design.
The structure is not linear, but that's not really an issue if you're paying attention.
The book may even have a YA feel to you if that's what you read more often than not, but there are more layers to The Night Circus than you would initially think, so keep that in mind.(less)
Margaret Christison Hi Karen- I think it would be a shame to read it at eight. I think she would love it more later on. I agree that Diana Wynne Jones is the way to go…moreHi Karen- I think it would be a shame to read it at eight. I think she would love it more later on. I agree that Diana Wynne Jones is the way to go .'Hotter than Potter!' There is a feast in store if you haven't discovered her yet.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Contains some minor spoilers.

I disliked this book, which means I ought to rate it one star, but it is not as awful as my one star shelf. One star books have to really repulse me to get that rating. The only redeeming thing about The Night Circus is that I didn't feel the one star compulsion to start a bonfire so I could properly dispose of it, hence two stars, but in this case it does not mean I enjoyed the book at all.

From the Goodreads summary: "But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is u
Maggie Stiefvater
Dec 04, 2013 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, recommended
Five Things About THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

Ordinarily when I do my recommendations, I do a “five reasons to read _____,” but I think opinions will be so divided on THE NIGHT CIRCUS that I think “things about” will be more useful.

1. This novel is not what it says it is. Well, back page copy is always a weird thing anyway, as it’s not written by the author. And a weirder thing because it is essentially a glamour shot of the novel. It is not a lie. But it isn’t really what the novel looks like when it’s wa
Jun 10, 2011 Tatiana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: why-the-hype, 2011
The Night Circus will be a 5-star book for a certain reader. This reader likes a lot of descriptions, doesn't mind a very slow story and has a soft spot for circuses. I am not that reader. I prefer imagery to complement a plot rather than substitute it.

The plot summary of The Night Circus promised many enticing things, but delivered, in my opinion, only on one - lush imagery of a mysterious circus that was a collaborative creation of two rivaling magicians. The book was good 80% description of v
Rick Riordan
Dec 04, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The prose sparkles, and the story itself is a feat of magical acrobatics. It's a hard book to summarize, but basically two ancient magicians set their two best pupils against one another in a magical contest. Its venue? A mysterious circus that only appears at night. The only problem: the contestants don't really know the rules, or how victory is determined. And when the contestants start falling in love which each other, things get complicated.

Sep 21, 2011 Cait rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aw hell, I'm going to rate this 4.5 stars. I can't resist this book was so freaking good. I don't normally change my ratings, so don't expect this TOO often.

My feelings are so conflicted about this book. I don't know whether to immortalize it for all eternity in a frame on my wall, or throw it into the fire.

So, how the hell am I supposed to rate this book? A million stars, one star, 837 stars, what? In the end I did some crazy, overly complicated math that really makes so sense in my head, an
Mar 22, 2012 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
shrug. yeah, i had a good time reading this book. i got really swept away in its atmosphere, and it didn't disappoint me because i didn't go into it thinking it was going to be a masterwork of literature, explaining the human condition and changing the way i saw myself and my relationships in the future. it presented itself as a fantasy novel about a magical victorian circus and that's exactly what it gave me.

i think it is most successful in terms of its mood and its atmosphere. this is not a n
Richard Derus
Dec 04, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who needs magic in their world
Rating: 6* of five

Sometimes, some books just don't lend themselves to an analytical, opinionated review. I'm reluctant to do that kind of review here and now because the experience of reading The Night Circus was like smelling a magnolia blossom...perfect, sweet, rich, satisfying a need I didn't know I had until it was met...but to examine it, to handle it, even gently, risks that somehow the magical smooth gorgeously textured vessel of chastely erotic pleasure that this book is will let it begi
Sep 19, 2011 j rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, a-wizard-did-it
Wedding cakes are typically the prettiest cakes, but they are almost never the tastiest cakes. I am not a cake expert (can I be one though? Is that a thing I can be?), but it seems to me that the tools necessary to make a cake exceptionally pretty -- a vat of fondant, to start -- also contribute to the cake not tasting all that good (unless you somehow really like fondant, which is incorrect).

Don't misunderstand me, I have no issue with cake. The right decorations, the right frosting (buttercrea
Sep 29, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As a young girl, Celia Bowen is delivered to the father she never knew, a world famous magician whose secret is that his show is genuine magic - not illusions. He teaches Celia to manipulate the world in the same way so that she can compete in a high-stakes game against Marco, an orphan similarly trained by her father's nemesis. The arena for this game is an elaborate, surreal circus. Neither Celia nor Marco knows the extent of the game, nor their opponent, until they have fallen in love with ea ...more
Sometimes I want chocolate. And sometimes I want the chocolate experience. I'm as guilty as the next person of the occasional vending machine pick-up for when I need those quick fixes. But then there's the slow anticipation. Take last week, for instance. It had been a few days since the last time. As I waited in line for my latte, my eyes happened to linger on a cute little cupcake, dark velvety goodness. Short, stacked, with a swirl of fluffy milk chocolate frosting. I resisted temptation, but ...more
Mikee Andrea (ReadWithMikee)

Find me on Instagram & Twitter!

When the final bulb pops alight, and the smoke and sparks dissipate, it is finally legible, this elaborate incandescent sign. Leaning to your left to gain a better view, you can see that it reads:

Le Cirque des Rêves

Some in the crowd smile knowingly, while other frown and look questioningly at their neighbors. A child near you tugs on her mother's sleeve, begging to know what it says.

'The Circus of Dreams,' comes the reply.


The Night Circus was one
Katrina Passick Lumsden
If I had to describe this book in one word, that word would probably be...wondrous. This story made me want to smile, frown, laugh, and curl up into a ball and cry. Try to imagine someone taking Carnivale, Somewhere in Time, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Prestige and mashing them all together into a poetic, stunning piece of fiction with a beautifully melancholic, bittersweet ending. It made me crave magical autumn nights spent in a circus that defies the conventional laws of the univ ...more
Cait • A Page with a View
The writing was just so gorgeous that I didn't really mind how slow-moving and elusive the story was at times.

I really loved Bailey, Poppet, & Widget and the aesthetic of the circus! The circus itself felt like the main character, which was really neat. But I couldn’t even pin down exactly what the whole competition was until about 70% because it was unclear what the rules were or what they were even competing for:
I confess, I don’t fully understand the point, even after all this time.”
Oct 05, 2011 Rane rated it it was amazing

I remember when I was a kid, my Dad took me to the Circus, a small traveling circus with a few shows and a fewer animals, a circus that was rare even then and not heard of now of days. I remember holding my Dad's hand as we walked through the huge big top tent and feeling something magical and rare falling over me.
One show that I can clearly remember even years after is of a young woman, a Aerial silk performer as she made the silk fabric dance for her with ease and grace as it wrapped itself
Mohammed Arabey
Dec 30, 2016 Mohammed Arabey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هذا الريفيو كتبه أحد الحـالـمين ,أرجوك لا تقرأه إلا إذا كنت منّـا … حــالــم

(سبع أسباب لتقرأ رواية لتدخل عالم السيرك الليلي)

1- لأنه الشتاء .. ولأنه الليل .. ولأنه وقت السحر والخيال .. ولأنه السيرك الليلي .. ولأنه

حتي إن لم تكن من هواة السيرك -وانا ايضا- ستشدك وبقوة احداث الرواية الغريبة للنهاية
الرواية تبدأ من وجهة نظرك أنت, وأنت تري سورا يحيط حلقة سيرك غريبة، بل عدة حلقات من السيرك ، خيماته مخططة باﻷبيض واﻷسود، بل وقطعة اﻷرض المحيطة به كلها مخططة بنفس اللونين
السيرك ظهر فجأة في وسط الحقول علي أط
I never expected to like this book. Just from the title I knew it wasn't for me, but so many people spoke highly of the book, so I read some reviews... And my opinion remained the same. This wasn't for me. Nothing about it appealed to me, and so I had no interest in ever reading it. But, it was chosen for my bookclub, and so I read it. Technically. And now I am going to rant about why I wish I hadn't. In detail, which means there's gonna be spoilery stuff, probably.

Here we go:

I don't like readi
Oct 14, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
The Night Circus reminds me of a wedding cake: breath-takingly beautiful and intricate, with an infinite amount of attention paid to every detail. And, while you'll do the polite thing and talk about how delicious it was, in your heart-of-hearts you know that the simple homemade cake you've got waiting for you at home is infinitely better. Because a wedding cake isn't really about taste at all; it's all about flash, panache, and aesthetics. As your fork breaks through all the magic of sculpted i ...more
Kristina Horner
Feb 22, 2015 Kristina Horner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, adult
I'm not sure what to say about this book except that you should read it.
Please read it.
Devour it, savor it, love it, hold it close, name your first child after it.

What a perfect, delightful, enchanting story.
I envision many future rereads.
Megs ♥
Mar 05, 2012 Megs ♥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book a word...amazing! I wish it didn't have to end.

Celia and Marco are two young magicians who were chosen to take part in a competition by her father and his trainer. They don't know each other as they grow up, but they know that they are training for this competition. They also don't know much about the competition at all, they just train on and do what they're told. As they grow up they learn more each day, and meet each other while working at the circus which is the venue for
“The circus arrives without warning.” (This may be the most talked about opening line of any book to be published this year.)

The book this opening statement comes from is called The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and one that amazed me in so many ways. All my emotions were engaged as I read. I was enthralled to the point I wanted to curse Erin because I was utterly obsessed with this fantasy world she has created. Words are poetry where the writer is the artist responsible in creating beauty i
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
See this review and more on The Moonlight Library!

Gah! What a supremely boring book.

The prose is near perfect, and the descriptions are the best I’ve ever read. But good writing and beautiful descriptions does not a good book make!

This book was boring. I was promised a deadly duel to the death between two star-crossed magic-making lovers, trained since childhood to… destroy each other, perhaps. Instead I was delivered a slow-burn of somewhat related skits interspersed with pretty good second-per
Bookworm Sean
Some books touch your soul in unexpected ways. I’ve never been to a circus nor have I ever had a wish to go to one. But, after reading this I want to go to one. Admittedly, this is plain folly because a circus this beautiful and enchanting could never be reality; it’s simply too wonderful and could only ever exist amongst the pages of a magnificent book. Real circuses are horrible places that are full of cruelty and vile entertainment. What I mean to say is that I actually want to go to the Nigh ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I just can't stay with this. It's tedious and overwritten, pretentious and full of endless descriptions. Way over-hyped. I think the plot idea had promise, but its execution needs a buzz cut. Or maybe even a vasectomy. With a weed-whacker.
Darth J

Amidst the backdrop of a delightfully gothic traveling circus is a duel of sorcerers pitted against each other by their teachers. There's a love story blah blah blah too but there is just something so classically beautiful about this book. Also, carnival food:

Where is the movie? And more importantly: where is the sequel?!

Updated: 31 August 2015
(Note: Please pay no attention to the fool in the comments)
Dec 27, 2016 Petrik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Buddy reading this book with my favorite Princess Celeste

2.5/5 Stars

There will be rants on this review, if you're easily offended I recommend you to stay away from continuing.

I really wish I could rate this higher but if you heard about this book already, you probably know there have been a lot of mixed reviews on it. It’s either you really love it or you really hate it. Sadly, I’m one of those closer to hating it.

Before you read this book, I must state two things.

Book Riot Community
Morgenstern’s book should come with a disclaimer: may lead to bookish existential crises. I’d picked it up as therapy, thinking it’d fill the Harry Potter void, but I ended up with a bucket of feels and another hole in my heart. The Night Circus is all kinds of beautiful, and combines a heart-wrenching love story with gorgeous fantasy. The story of two apprentices trained to battle each other with their magical powers, it’ll leave you dazed. I still cannot decide if I want more of the same genre ...more
Jul 05, 2012 Giselle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, own, fantasy
The Night Circus is like cake. Cake without frosting. Sure, cake is good, some people will even prefer dry, plain cake all by itself, but others, such as myself, need the sugary sweetness of frosting. Some may prefer the milder whip frosting. Or maybe even caramel or candy to put the final touches on our taste buds. Either way, plain cake, no matter how moist, is not for everyone.

Yes, the writing is beautiful. Beyond beautiful. It's magnificent and breathtaking; the detailed scenery, the magic,
Simona Bartolotta
"Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse."

Oh, it is. So, so far worse.
But I never enjoy a challenge that does not present its risks.

That is why I am about to share a secret.

I could begin with once upon a time (for there is no difference between well kept secrets and well told stories; both are conceived within the mind, but safer when hidden in the folds of a thriving heart; both, at last, are better told in a wispe
Jun 11, 2011 Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE NIGHT CIRCUS is magical realism at its most fun. The major storyline pits two young magicians (and two schools of thought) in a mysterious battle set in a traveling night circus. The circus is both the main and most interesting character. The secondary story line involves a young boy in Massachusetts who visits the circus and returns as a young man. The tertiary story line involves you, the reader, walking through the circus in the present day.

The structure of the book mimics the circus whe
Henry Avila
Jan 07, 2015 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a vacant lot, on the outskirts of late, Nineteenth- Century London, a strange thing appears, like magic, numerous tall tents, black and white in color, in the middle of the night, surrounded by a fence. How it got there so suddenly, hoisted without any noise or being seen, and most unusual, no publicity ... it's a circus. But not like anything, anyone has ever gazed at, the sign says performances commence, only when the sun sets, unheard of, the money they will lose. Le Cirque des Reves , ( T ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)
  • Timeless (Parasol Protectorate, #5)
  • Lips Touch: Three Times
  • The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam, #1)
  • Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2)
  • The Gates (Samuel Johnson, #1)
  • Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)
  • The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories (The Curiosities, #1)
  • The Vanishing Act
  • The Native Star (Veneficas Americana, #1)
  • The Winter Witch
  • Such Wicked Intent (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #2)
  • All Men of Genius
  • The Taker (The Taker, #1)
  • Pretty Monsters: Stories
  • Briar Rose
  • The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)
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 Boston, Massachusetts with two very fluffy cats.
More about Erin Morgenstern...

Share This Book

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.” 2166 likes
“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.” 1626 likes
More quotes…