Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Plot Summary:

Clara Bowen's life came to a halt when her mother left her with the father she never knew. What Clara did not know was that her father (Hector Bowen, aka, "The Great Prospero") was a powerful illusionist and she, herself, is just as powerful. Rather than nurturing, and loving her, like most fathers, Hector Bowen makes a deal with the mysterious A.H. and prepares her for a battle with dangerous consequences. What this "battle" involves is a competition between illusionists who do not share their secrets or collaborate with other illusionists. As Clara trains, A.H. plucks a child, named Marco, from an orphanage and trains him he best way he knows how, which leaves this boy questioning his role in this competition. What Hector and A.H. didn't count on was what would happen if Clara and Marco were to meet. Moreover, the stage for this battle,  Le Cirque des Reves, The Night Circus, transforms into something more precious that players would sacrifice everything to keep it alive.

Critical Evaluation:
The Night Circus is a beautiful tale where magic sets the stage for a dream that most people would love to re-live over and over. What most readers wouldn't expect is how richly complicated this story is where two people, destined to destroy each other, actually come to together to create something incredibly beautiful other than falling in love. Another aspect of this story is the alternating point of views that not only contribute to the complexity of this story, but how one long time rivalry can alter so many lives where the collateral damage changes the lives of everyone involved. Readers will love the characters and the love that develops between the main characters. However, what they won't expect is the ending where a lifetime of deception and secrets finally come to a rather fitting end.  

Information about the Author:
The Night Circus is Erin Morgenstern's first novel. According to her website, Morgenstern grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts and graduated from Smith College with a BA in Theatre and Studio Art. Most of her stories and art are fairy tales ans she  currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts. According to Morgenstern:
I started querying literary agents in June of 2009. After working with interested agents and revising my manuscript (twice) I signed with my agent in May of 2010. Then I spent a summer in the Revisionland Hotel, and in September of 2010, THE NIGHT CIRCUS sold to Doubleday. The sound you are hearing is my head spinning, still.
My fiction tends to be location-driven. Nocturnal circuses, subterranean libraries, townhouses dressed up as pirate ships. I got tired of living in Alice’s Wonderland and decided to build some of my own.
I write 10-sentence flash fiction pieces inspired by photographs that are posted to the blog every Friday. They are fondly known as flax-golden tales.

Reading Level/Interest:

Books Similar to the Night Circus:
Awards & Recognition:
  • Kirkus Starred Review (4/15/2011)
  • Booklist Starred Review (5/15/2011)
  • Publisher's Weekly Starred Review (5/16/2011)
  • Library Journal Starred Review (6/15/2011)

{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. The reader will love getting to know the individual characters as well. In a circus, there are many odd characters and the author remains true to this theme. The secondary characters are intriguing and often know much more than they tell...the reader will have fun guessing about the plot of this story and the perfect ending. The main characters complement each other perfectly, it seems perfectly natural that they would fall in love.

  2. Espana, I totally agree! I was not expecting the ending whatsoever and that is why I love this story so much. As for the characters, Morgenstern does an amazing job conveying that no matter how powerful or talented a person may be, they are still human, especially when it comes to the matters of the heart.

  3. I was drawn into the Magic of this book by the easy flowing descriptive words. Erin Morgenstern created a journey that I was drawn into and never wanted it to end.


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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