The Night Circus is a charming and enjoyable, if not slow, read, but it is far from perfect.
The novel comprises of two stories woven together. One story is about a young man (Bailey) who encounters and is enamored by the circus and the other, the main story, is of two star-crossed lovers (Marco and Celia) who use the circus as a highly elaborate (and magical) "love letter"/competitive arena.
The characters are quite flat in this book, although I did very much enjoy Bailey's side of the story. I wasn't quite convinced of Marco and Celia's love for one another - would they have fallen in love if they hadn't been bound by magic? - and I found them to be annoyingly perfect. One of the characters goes through quite an abrupt shift in personality too - Chandresh literally went from eccentric to batsh*t crazy within pages.
I was more disappointed with the magic system and the competition between Celia and Marco though. There seemed to be no bounds as to what was achievable with magic. Perhaps there were some hidden rules, but they were never explained despite many of the characters being quite adept at using magic. Again with the rules - the competitors are not told the rules of the game. Despite the game being played over the course of several years, the competitors only manage to figure out one! What kind of game is that???
But despite all this I still enjoyed the book. There's an air of mystery around the circus and its mystery translates into the story itself.