The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

04 Dec


Morgenstern, Erin. The Night Circus. Doubleday, 2011. 387 pages. ISBN 978-0-385-53463-5

Plot Summary:

Celia Bowen was five years old when her mother took her own life and she was sent to live with her father, Prospero, or Hector Bowen. Celia was a born magician, the magic she could do was real, not smoke and mirrors, and her father quickly saw this and started teaching her how to get stronger. By six years old she was bound to another in a competition of magical skills that would last for more than thirty years. Marco was an orphan and one day a mysterious man in a suit came for him, see the potential in him, and for many years after than Marco did nothing but learn the ways of magic and strengthened his skills. Both Celia and Marco studiously practiced and awaited the day their competition would really start, but first they needed a venue. And that is where the Night Circus was born, they call it Le Cirque des Reves, aka The Circus of Dreams. Celia went to try out for the part of the illusionist and was taken in by the judges, and Marco became the circus proprietor’s assistant. And the games have begun.

Critical Evaluation:

This is a tantalizing tale that will take your breath away. The words paint a picture that jumps right out of the pages and captivate you. The imagery is amazing in its detail and magnitude. It’s hard not to picture what Morgenstern is writing. Her elaborate ideas and fascinating characters are outlandishly entertaining. Written in a narrative, the tone is one that makes you feel like a child being read a fairy tale at night. The chapters all start with a location and date, and each chapter does not necessarily go in chronological order. You might end up in the past or the future, but this does not take away from the story. It is still easy enough to follow and has its reasons in the end. This is a fantastical tale that is more than just a love story. It is a competition, an adventure, and a magical ride that is unlike any other. Black and white has never been so colorful before.

Reader’s Annotation:

The circus shows up at night out of the blue. One minutes it is not there and the next it is, it’s like magic. You may only enter at night.


Erin Morgenstern grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She studies theater and studio arts at the Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts. She graduated in 2000. She likes to paint, mostly in acrylics, not just write. She painted the Phantomwise tarot deck.

She was rejected by thirty literary agents before signing iwth Inkwell Management in May 2010. She sold her novel The Night Circus to Doubleday in September 2010. This was her debut novel and it was published in September 2011. Morgenstern has participated in the National Novel Writing Month since 2003. In 2005 she first wrote about what would become The Night Circus. She is best known for this novel.



Curriculum Ties:


Booktalking Ideas:

The Circus of Dreams. It’s only open at night.

Reading Level/Interest Level:


Challenge Issues:


Why I include this book:

This is an incredibly imaginative book that young adults would enjoy. I was recommended it by the children’s librarian at the public library. She said that she doesn’t read a whole lot of adult books, but this one was really good and she though young adults would like it, and I have to agree.

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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in LIBR 265-10 Database Project/Blog


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