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15 Books Like The Night Circus

Books Like The Night Circus

Were you swept away by the magical world of “The Night Circus,” yearning for more stories that weave wonder, competition, and a touch of the extraordinary? 

Look no further, fellow bibliophile! This curated list offers ten captivating tales that will resonate with fans of Erin Morgenstern’s enchanting debut. 

From captivating circus settings to hidden magic and star-crossed love, prepare to embark on journeys that will ignite your imagination and leave you spellbound.

Books Like The Night Circus

1. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

“The Starless Sea” is a mesmerizing tale woven by Erin Morgenstern, the author of “The Night Circus.” 

This novel takes its readers on a magical journey to a secret underground world, a place of lost cities, seas of honey, and stories beyond imagination. 

The story follows Zachary Ezra Rawlins, a graduate student who discovers a mysterious book hidden in the library that leads him on an adventure filled with danger, romance, and a deep exploration of storytelling itself.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Night Circus” and “The Starless Sea” are written by Erin Morgenstern and share a lush, descriptive narrative style that immerses readers in their fantastical worlds. 

They celebrate the magic of storytelling, featuring intricate plots that blend reality with fantasy. The rich, atmospheric settings and the emphasis on the power of love and destiny are central themes in both novels, making “The Starless Sea” a perfect follow-up for fans of “The Night Circus.”

2. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Set in turn-of-the-century New York, “The Golem and the Jinni” is an enchanting novel that combines Jewish and Arab folk mythology. It tells the story of two supernatural creatures, a golem named Chava and a jinni named Ahmad, who find themselves in New York and form an unlikely friendship. 

The novel explores themes of immigration, identity, and the search for belonging through its beautifully drawn characters and their magical, intersecting journeys.

Major Similarities: 

“The Golem and the Jinni” shares with “The Night Circus” a magical realism setting that blurs the lines between the real world and the mystical. 

Both novels feature complex characters who are not entirely human but deeply sympathetic and engaging. The element of historical backdrop enriches their stories, providing a vivid sense of place and time while exploring the impact of magical beings on the human world.

3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval” is the first book in a captivating series that invites readers into a magical performance where nothing is as it seems. Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live under their father’s strict control. 

When they receive an invitation to attend the legendary Caraval, it seems like an escape, but they quickly learn that the game is more dangerous and real than they could have imagined.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Night Circus,” “Caraval” centers around a magical competition with a mysterious and enigmatic leader. Both novels are set in beautifully constructed, magical worlds that are as much a character as the people inhabiting them. 

The themes of love, sacrifice, and the blurring line between reality and illusion are explored in depth, making “Caraval” resonate with fans of Morgenstern’s work.

4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“The Shadow of the Wind” is a mesmerizing literary thriller set in post-war Barcelona. It follows a young boy named Daniel who discovers a book by Julián Carax and becomes obsessed with finding the author’s other works. 

As he digs deeper, he uncovers a story of murder, madness, and doomed love, all while navigating the dark, Gothic streets of Barcelona. The novel is a tribute to literature, love, and the dark forces that can shape our destinies.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Night Circus” and “The Shadow of the Wind” are atmospheric novels that skillfully blend elements of mystery, romance, and fantasy. They share a deep reverence for storytelling and the written word, with plots that unravel like a story within a story. The rich, detailed settings and the element of a mysterious competition or quest add to their thematic and aesthetic similarities.

5. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

“Strange the Dreamer” is a dreamlike fantasy that tells the story of Lazlo Strange, an orphan and a librarian who has been obsessed with the lost city of Weep for as long as he can remember. 

When a chance to visit the city presents itself, Lazlo embarks on a journey that will change him and the world forever. The novel is a beautiful exploration of dreams, love, and the power of myths.

Major Similarities: 

“Strange the Dreamer” and “The Night Circus” both create immersive, fantastical worlds that captivate the reader’s imagination from the first page. They explore themes of destiny, the interplay between dreams and reality, and the complexities of love and sacrifice. 

The lyrical writing style of Laini Taylor, much like Morgenstern’s, draws readers into a deeply magical experience, making it a must-read for fans of “The Night Circus.”

6. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

“The Bear and the Nightingale” is a spellbinding tale set in medieval Russia, where winter lasts most of the year and folklore and magic are a part of everyday life. 

It follows Vasya, a young girl with extraordinary gifts who is the only one who can see the house spirits that protect her family and village. As the world around her changes and danger approaches, Vasya must summon courage to protect her family and the way of life she loves.

Major Similarities: 

This novel shares with “The Night Circus” a deep immersion in a fantastical and richly detailed setting, filled with magical beings and ancient folklore. 

Both books feature strong, independent protagonists who must navigate a world where magic is real but not always understood or welcomed. The lyrical prose and atmospheric storytelling create a captivating reading experience that fans of Morgenstern’s novel will appreciate.

7. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Set in the early 1900s, “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” is a mesmerizing story about January Scaller, a young woman who feels out of place in her guardian’s strict and proper household. 

Her life changes when she discovers a strange book that tells of other worlds and secret doors that lead to these worlds. As January delves deeper into the story, she uncovers truths about her own family and her connection to these other worlds.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Night Circus,” Harrow’s novel is a love letter to the power of stories and the possibility of magic hidden in the mundane world. Both novels feature intricate plots that span time and space, with protagonists discovering their true selves through their adventures. 

The element of magical doors in Harrow’s book echoes the ever-changing tents of the circus, offering readers a sense of wonder and exploration.

8. The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

“The Night Tiger” is a richly woven tale of mystery and folklore set in 1930s Malaysia. It intertwines the lives of a young houseboy named Ren, who is on a mission to fulfill his former master’s dying wish, and Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker moonlighting as a dancehall girl, who comes into possession of a curious item that ties her fate to Ren’s. 

Together, they unravel a tale that spans decades, touching on colonial history, Chinese mythology, and the intertwining of fate and destiny.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Night Circus” and “The Night Tiger” excel in creating a sense of wonder and magic that permeates the real world. They share themes of destiny, the crossing of paths, and the blurring of lines between the physical and the mystical. 

Choo’s ability to weave cultural mythology into her narrative mirrors Morgenstern’s talent for crafting a unique magical universe, making it a compelling read for fans of intricately plotted fantasy.

9. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a novel that transports readers to the streets of Prague and beyond, into a world where a war between angels and demons is unfolding. 

The story follows Karou, a blue-haired art student with a foot in two worlds—one in the human world, the other as an errand girl for a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. 

As Karou uncovers the truth about herself and the war that has torn her world apart, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

Major Similarities: 

Taylor’s novel, much like “The Night Circus,” is celebrated for its beautiful prose and imaginative storytelling. Both books create a vivid, fantastical world that exists alongside our own, exploring themes of love, identity, and the clash between different worlds. 

The strong, mysterious female protagonist and the blend of romance with fantastical elements make “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” a compelling read for those enchanted by Morgenstern’s work.

10. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

“The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” is a Victorian-era fantasy that blends historical fiction with magical realism. It tells the story of Thaniel Steepleton, a telegraph operator in London, who returns home one day to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. 

The watch saves him from a bomb attack, leading him to its maker, Keita Mori, a Japanese immigrant with the ability to remember the future. As their lives become entwined, they uncover a world of clockwork inventions, intrigue, and the unexpected magic of friendship and love.

Major Similarities: 

Pulley’s novel and “The Night Circus” share a fondness for detailed, magical settings within a historical context. Both stories are imbued with a sense of wonder and explore the relationship between time, destiny, and the choices we make. 

The emphasis on intricate plot developments and the subtle integration of magic into the real world will resonate with fans of Erin Morgenstern’s enchanting storytelling.

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