Review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

SFFaudio Review

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern; Read by Jim Dale
13 Hours 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House
Published: 2011
Themes: / Fantasy / Fairy Tale / Magic /

“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….” (from the publisher summary)

It isn’t often that I download a book as soon as it is released, but I’ve been hearing about The Night Circus for months.  A co-worker tracked down an ARC before it even came out, and declared that she loved it and so would I.  I believed her, but still thought I’d wait.  The tipping point was hearing that Jim Dale was the reader.

I first encountered Jim Dale when I listened to the audiobooks for Harry Potter.  Besides bringing the stories I already loved to life, I had the distinct impression that Jim Dale is the voice I’ve always heard in my head when I read a book that immerses me into another world.  His nuance in character voicing and compelling emotion increases the reading experience one hundred fold.  It was a no-brainer; I had to read this book.

The story bounces between different people who relate to the circus in some way, and moves at will between cities and years, just as the circus does.  Eventually the relationship between the characters starts to be revealed, starting with the midnight banquets, one of my favorite moments in the book. Details weave together to describe the mysterious, magical place of the night circus that kept me so absorbed that I would make up reasons to keep listening… taking the long way home, going through the  coffee drive-through, and taking on cleaning projects.

I have seen comparisons with Ray Bradbury and J.K. Rowling, but I keep thinking of Catherynne Valente, particularly the world she created for Palimpsest.  This is a time to believe the hype.  The Night Circus is magical.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

New Releases: Random House Audio

New Releases

Random House AudioOf the latest Random House Audio releases these three seem the most interesting to me. First up, one we’ve covered before…

It may have a cover too boring to post, but the book trailer for Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is definitely post-worthy:

Categorized as “historical” and “romance” but it doesnt sound like either from the clip. It’s told in 2nd person and narrated by Jim Dale!

Random House Audio - The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern; Read by Jim Dale
CDs – Approx. 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: September 13, 2011
ISBN: 9780307938909
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.

When I heard that there was a new movie called “Killer Elite” I expected that it was just another pointless remake – this time of the 1975 Sam Peckinpah movie of the same name. Turns out it isn’t a remake, just a lifted title, and that the plot is actually based on a 1991 novel called The Feather Men! On the Wikipedia entry for the author, Ranulph Fiennes, he’s described as an “adventurer” and the novel is supposed to be based on true events.

Random House Audio - Killer Elite by Ranulph FiennesKiller Elite (previously published as The Feather Men)
By Ranulph Fiennes; Read by Jonathan Cowley
Digital Download – Approx. [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: September 6, 2011
ISBN: 9780307934352
Here is a gripping novel, inspired by real-life events, about a private team of British vigilantes that sets out to eliminate a gang of cold-blooded contract killers. From 1977 to 1990, four former British soldiers die, one by one, supposedly due to accident or illness. But soon a link is established between the victims: a shared mission in the desert kingdom of Oman, where they fought for a sultan against insurgents and ruined the life of a rival sheikh, who in turn has sent a band of assassins to methodically slay the soldiers and salvage his pride. Now these clever assassins are on the run from an underground group of SAS vets with nothing to lose, no time to waste, and a desire to dispense their own form of justice—no matter the cost.

Posted by Jesse Willis