#82: The Night Circus

The Night Circus



Narrator: Jim Dale

Audiobook 13H40

Published by Random House Audio in September 2011

This book counts for

2011 Audio Book Challenge


OK let’s go against the flow here. I got hooked by all the hype around this book and tried it. I have to admit I listened to it all, so there’s at least one positive element I can say: it is suspenseful. Though sometimes I would have liked to have to wait less than to the very end to really know how this was going to resolve.

Apart from that: I didn’t like much this book, probably because I really didn’t understand it. Very complex plot, and I don’t think I still know what was really going on. My hope is that there WAS really something to understand, and that’s it’s just me who was too obtuse to get it. Maybe as a book, it would have been clearer, for instance I could have checked about the time and date of each scene, which I couldn’t do with the audiobook format.

More about the audio format: everyone goes wow for Jim Dale, but seriously I thought his voice did not fit AT ALL for the characters. Most of them are young people, especially the 2 main protagonists, and his voice sounded way too old for them.

And right from the beginning he really got on my nerves, by pronouncing “Le cirque des rêves” inadequately. Whether you are a very famous narrator or not I don’t care, you have to do a bit of research if you have words in another language, if you work as a professional and are paid for what you do. The expression comes many times in French at least at the beginning of the book, and each time, he pronounces “cirque” with the i as in “bird”. Unfortunately, this way of pronouncing the ‘i’ is not French, so the word “cirque” should be pronounced with the “i” you use for instance in the first letter of the word “idiot”. If the author deliberately used the phrase “Le cirque des rêves”, it should then be pronounced as the French do, please.


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, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart. [Goodreads]


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 Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two very fluffy cats. [Goodreads]




For once, I will not include any here, as I can’t agree with any of the ones I find for instance on amazon. I may have missed something big here.


14 thoughts on “#82: The Night Circus

  1. Pingback: 2011 Audio Book Challenge « Words And Peace

  2. I’ve almost bought this book several times. I keep seeing it on the bookshelves here and there and I keep thinking about how intriguing the story sounds and I look at the beautiful cover. But your review here reminds me of other reviews I’ve read that said it doesn’t have substance. Thank you!


  3. Pingback: Review: Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus « Fat Books & Thin Women

  4. Sorry to hear that you did not like it as much as I did. Perhaps this book is more appealing in print than in audio? I’ve noticed that some books really don’t come out well on audio. I agree with you that the plot is complex and everything remains pretty vague… and not everything is revealed in the end. For me, this added to the general mystery surrounding the story.


    • yes I totally agree that some books are much better in print, and vice versa. I have no problem with no resolved plots actually. Just read If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, by Italo Calvino, well talk about very complex book… but with touches of genius as well. I’m still thinking about it before writing my review


  5. Pingback: What Makes a Good Narrator? – Audiobook Week Discussion « Words And Peace

  6. I think you’re right that the audio format might have limited your enjoyment. I didn’t find myself referring back to dates and such, but I do know that I will sometimes mentally drift while listening to audiobooks. I don’t miss large parts of the story but little details which help with context.

    I also totally understand your struggle with voices and mispronunciation! I really disliked The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness on audio because the voices were terrible. Plus, I completely agree. As a professional, you need to pronounce things correctly. I wonder how that got past the producers?


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