If someone were to add words to Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" the result would probably sound like this book. The author has a gift for descriptive writing. The prose is haunting and draws you into the world it's set in. The plot is barely there and plods along extremely slowly but it never matters because you'll be content just sitting there and letting the words wash over you.
I will confess that even now I'm not really sure if this book is about a circus or a love story, but I find that I don't care. The dreamy tale of the night circus, the description of its tents and the characters involved are mesmerizing enough to make you ignore the fact that somewhere halfway through the book, the plot goes awry and in spite of being touted as mainly a love story, we are only told that the characters are in love but are never shown. Unfortunately, though you'll be able to ignore the fact, you won't be able to forget it.
And so, three stars instead of four.