I think that a lot of books are ruined by hype and The Night Circus might be one of them. How you feel about a book is the difference between your expectations and what you find. I certainly expected a lot more and so was disappointed. If it hadn’t been hyped, I probably would have enjoyed it more.
I read all the rave reviews, downloaded a sample, liked the sample and bought the book on Kindle. It's beautifully written, intricately plotted - the word 'exquisite' comes to mind - and it's got some original ideas. But ...... I quickly became bored. Not a great deal happens. The magical duel didn't really involve me as it should and I didn't care about the characters enough to want to know how they turned out. It was all rather precious and somehow distant. Angela Carter this is not.
If this book hadn't been hyped so much, I probably would have been kinder. I would have said - fantastic new author, interesting idea, really good writing - watch this space! But now I wonder whether Erin Morgenstern will be damaged by having too much heaped on her in too short a time. If she's the good writer I think she is, she will survive this and write other fantastic novels. My worry is that the publishers will just want her to produce more of the same.
If you love fantasy and magical realism, and you don't expect too much, you will enjoy this book very much.