the night circus // erin morgensten

published: 2011
pages: 387
ISBN: 978-0-385-53463-5
read: 2/11-26/2017
rating: 1) i didn't like it 2) it was okay 3) i liked it 
          4) really liked it 5) it was amazing 6) I LOVED IT
(sorry! i know, my "rating system" keeps changing but gah!)

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 both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

there's something about this book that strikes me as ridiculously beautiful; this is the first time i feel this way towards a book, i think. 
and yet somehow, even though it made me feel that, it wasn't enough to bring me back to it as constantly as other books have done before. 
i don't know. it's a weird one. 
i think it's the pace in which it's written that made me hesitate to pick it up continuously. 
there are several characters involved in this story and i think the meeting of new people every now and again is what kind of put me off. 
(but they're all essential to the story so....)

i didn't devote the proper attention to this book as i should have and since I'd put it off for days at a time, when i would come back I'd be a bit confused on certain characters and what it was they were doing or what their part was in the plot (bad. i know) 

i finally sat my ass down and made myself read this book and I'm definitely glad that i finished it. 
it was not a bad book at all. i really liked it. i just think it was the pacing. 
I'm thinking that I'll eventually come back to it later on in life and read it again properly. 

i think certain people might have expected more of a "battle" book because of the description BUT let me tell you and save you the time; it's not. 

let me explain it a little bit more. since it's up on the synopsis, i won't be spoiling much.
it's a battle between Celia and Marco and the Circus is their "battle ground" except its not a physical battle its more of a who can create what and build from that within the circus battle. 
of course they end up falling in love but because of that, everything, everyone within the circus and the circus itself is in danger of failing...or dying....or ending...not sure what the proper term there would be.
and that's gist of can they be together without hurting everything and everyone involved.

the chapters all have their titles (for the most part very indicative of whats about to take place) AND the time (month and year) that said chapter takes place in. i read the titles but tended to skip over the dates so as the book went back and forth i was like wtf is going on! but that was all my fault. Erin did a good job of explaining a reaction as well as the action later on. 
overall, i liked the book. once it started making sense to me i liked it even more. 
i liked all of the characters with the exception of Kiko. I'm not sure what the verdict is on her yet. but i gotta say my favorite was Widget. i just loved him!

if you're okay with slow paced books, i definitely recommend but if you're not, I'd say just read the spoilers. ill try to get into them as much as possible. 

but let me leave you with some of my 

"...but a child should not have their choices dictated for them." 
- Bailey's Grama. pg 87

"secrets have power, and that power diminishes when they are shared...." 
-Widget pg 173
(this is an entire paragraph which i absolutely loved) 

"the past is easier. it's already there." 
- Widget pg 199

" i have never lied. i do not share what i am not at liberty to say. i gave my word and I intend to keep it but i have never lied to you." 
- Mr. Burris pg 253

"love is fickle and fleeting, it is rarely a solid foundation for decisions to be made upon, in any game." 
-Tsukiko (Kiko) pg 306

"if she were gone, i would be nothing. you should think better of yourself than to settle for that." 
- Marco pg 335

" i still want you to be happy." 
-Isobel pg 336
(in between a paragraph that i loved completely) 

spoilers below!

thanks for reading!
#lesreads on IG

like i mentioned above, this one was a weird read for me and i didn't even realize there was a timeline until i was done, but ill do my best!


Celia's father had left her mother once his circus left town (i think) and left her there with a child he didn't acknowledge. 6 years later, she is "delivered" to him after her mother commits suicide. 

after seeing what she is capable of, he basically sacrifices her to a challenge where no one but him and Mr. A. H--- know the rules. and where in order to win, the other opponent must die. 

so Mr. AH plucks Marco out of an orphanage and then binds him to the game by placing a ring on him that burns and leaves a mark on his ring finger. he did the same to Celia when she was 6. and now they are bonded forever!!!!!! well, basically until one of them dies. 

turns out, Celia's dad, Hector Bowen, was a student of MR. AH. and Hector believed that there was more out there than AH was exploring. that there were ways to basically leave your body and come back as you please. he was also a money hungry I'm sure other reasons but I'm going with this one being a main one.

anyway, if i could pinpoint when the circus starts, i really can't. all can say is, one night, Chandresh (the owner/proprietor of the circus) hosts his usual midnight dinners where he brings in all of the key players and he lets them know that he wants to create a circus that's never been done before and what he expects of each and everyone should they accept. (and honestly, now that i think about it i think it was Marco that placed that idea in his head by order of AH) so they build the circus and that's where their battle takes place. (but of course NO ONE there knows that.) this is also where Tsukiko comes into play and now that i think about that, i think it was AH that sent her since she was a former student of his.
(this is also i no, no it's not. Marco learns that she is his opponent once they hold auditions to find other people to join the circus.) 

Celia travels with the circus and you later on learn that she's the one carrying it all on her back while Marco builds the tents in it all the way from London. 

before the beginning of the circus, Marco meets Isobel, she falls in love with him and he uses her to spy on Celia. since she is a tarot card reader, it's easy to have her fit in. 
you later on learn that she had a spell over everyone in the circus to keep them safe. (Marco has a spell on everyone keeping them young) 
she knew in the cards all along that Marco was not in love with her but with Celia but of course shes in denial and finally decides to break the spell which of course sends everything into shit. 

Hier Thiessen was an amazing clock maker artist (whatever you call them) who was hired by Mr. Burris (he was essentially the blueprint maker/constructor/maker of the whole circus) to make a giant clock that would fit the theme of the circus. 
which he does, and when he sees how its being used or well shown, he explores the circus and falls in love with it. he starts writing articles and everyone around the world falls in love with him, his writing and the circus. everyone all over the world travels and dresses in code and call themselves the reveurs. just to be a part of this magical place. day he is in the circus I THINK talking to Mr. AH (at this point, HT was close to Celia. i thought they might have ended up together eventually but they were just close friends. i think he knew the "basics" of the circus but because of the love and joy he felt for it, he never asked. he was free to write of the circus but when he was invited to a midnight dinner, he wasn't allowed to write or speak of it) when Chandresh (all drunk and shit) takes his knife and throws it at him but because MR. AH i think is a ghost, it goes right through him killing Thiessen. (sorry if it seems like wtf? but this happened because of Isobel's decision to take the spell of safety off of the circus) (but also later on you learn that Hector was the one that talked Chandresh into going to the circus. it wasn't his "intention" to have Chandresh hurt AH but i think he definitely pushed him towards it.) just so happens Thiessen was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

anyway...i think the "game or battle" or whatever you want to call it is set in place when Marco throws a book into a big ol' pot (or whatever they called it) and also sets the birth of the twins into action. wait, not sets because once a woman's pregnant....but i mean like i think he might be responsible for their "powers." one before midnight and one right after. Poppet and Widget also have their own sets of powers where he can read peoples past and tell them in stories and she can see the future in the stars. 

Bailey lives in Boston (obvs with his family) when his little bitch ass sister dares him to go into the circus and he does. since its only open from dusk til dawn, he sneaks in and runs into Poppet who helps him out because he might get "killed" for trespassing and ever since then hes been in love with the circus (and kinda her too.) 
anyway.......he becomes good friends with Poppet and Widget after he has a reading with Isobel and long story short, he ends up running the Circus. (because Celia asks him too.)

Celia and Marco cant be together because one of them has to die in order for there to be a winner. but if one dies, the other has to carry the circus and that can get tiring, no? so no matter what, everyone is kinda screwed. (although, i mean? are they really? its not like they'll die. they just wont have the circus anymore.) 
Tsukiko is the survivor of the last game so she gives Celia a bit of time to get her shit together so she can hand over the circus. if she can't, she'll set it all in motion for her (Celia needs to hand the circus over because she's basically falling apart and if she crashes, they're all sort of doomed.) but then there's a year between that conversation (this is where i noticed that there was a time difference in the story) and what Kiko actually does that sets it in motion is that shes blows out the fire in the cauldron and has Isobel help her bring Marco to her. 
so i thiiiink Kiko is going to kill one of them. 
BUT Celia!!! runs towards Marco and holds on to him and she manages to make them disappear. 
so they are both no longer of this world. 
but they're together. 
so she's kind of like her father in a sense, except she's still in her body but in another world or dimension in the ice tent whereas her father can go as he pleases but he'll never not be a ghost or i think even have the option to die...(and now that i kinda think about it, is that what happened to AH?)  

and so now Bailey runs the circus with the help of the twins all those other people that want to be involved. (oh!, also, it wasn't like he was the chosen one. he just happened to be at the right place at the right time. i think that part hella sucked. she should have made it a destiny kinda thing...i mean the kids guna carry your fucken circus!)
For sure Mr. Burris and one of the twins, Lainie (Tara passed away because she starts putting things together and starts asking the right questions to the wrong people) continue to carry the legacy that is the circus. 

MR. AH i don't think (and he said it himself) is the MAIN owner of the circus but Widget meets with him and asks to purchase the circus from him no matter the cost. 
AH lets him know that all he wants for what little of the circus he owns, is one of his amazing stories. and if its that great, when he walks away all ties are severed and its all theirs. 

and it ends how it starts; "THE CIRCUS ARRIVES WITH NO WARNING." 

and the last chapter is basically (and this is me making my own guess) with the "soon to be new owner" walking into the circus and being amazed just as Bailey once was. as said person is leaving the circus, a lady in the ticket booth calls them over to and gives him/her a business card with Baileys information on it and that's it. 

for the most part that's the gist of it all. there's some stuff i might have left out because i didn't really pay attention or it just flew right by me....but all the other stuff is mostly details about the circus. like i said, its a beautiful read..its just drags. 

kthxbye! 😚


  1. I've seen this book at Target countless of times. The cover art looks beautiful and always makes me interested in it yet I've still never read it.

    1. i saw it a lot when it first came out and by random chance i saw it at the library.
      for me, it was definitely a good, beautiful read. it was just slow paced.
      if i ever find it on sale, i'll definitely buy it. but it does take a while.

      this one also reminds me of Caraval and i want to read that book too since i've been hearing so many good things about it. but since its a series, ill just wait 'til they're all out.


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