If you prefer character-based novels, be forewarned: The Night Circus is almost entirely plot and setting driven, the characters merely outlines of chess pieces (I steal that comparison directly from the book), fleshed out only so much as necessary to move the story forward. Think Agatha Christie, with magic but no murder to solve - each character with an identifying characteristic to keep them straight (the tattooed contortionist, the farmer's son, the fortune-teller, the stylish former ballerina, the clockmaker, etc.). The character's special abilities are much more central to the tale than their personalities, which, as has been mentioned, were somewhat flat. All were defined by their skills and principles. I didn't actually mind this at all while reading - I was entirely riveted by the atmosphere Morgenstern deftly created. Her descriptions of this enchanting world brought the circus to life as if a Tim Burton film was playing in my head. The love story aspect more difficult to accept unless thought of in fairy tale terms - fairy tale romances are rarely based on much of substance, but mostly on whimsical fancy, and this is no exception, which was not an issue for me since the story was not first or foremost a romance, but more of a fable about what is under one's control and what is not, and the blurred lines between dreamlike illusions and reality - what is reality, after all, but what we choose to believe it to be.Full review can be found here.