First, I loved The Night Circus. There a lot of reviews on Amazon.com and Goodreads that are clearly split between "loved it" and "hated it" camps.
Reasons I loved it:
1. Nothing was as I expected. The contest was not what I expected. The protagonists were not what I expected. I didn't expect the deaths to happen the way they did. I didn't anticipate the ending until very close to the end. I kept reading because I wanted to see what happened next.
2. The Circus sounded so cool. Yes, there are long stretches of description and atmosphere. They are necessary for you to understand why the circus was so popular. And it's so unusual, like the Cloud Maze, where attendees can climb a 3 dimensional maze. I want to climb that. The Ice Garden sounds like something I would love to see. And who wouldn't want to visit the regrets pond (not what it's called) where you drop a stone in a pond and with it, release a regret you hold in your heart.
3. The description of the fandom. The novel spends time with fans of the Circus who travel from city to city to see it and send telegrams to alert each other when it shows up. Who share their stories at cafe meet ups and in newsletters. As I am a participant in a few fandoms, I love that our part in it was included.
On a related note, Ms. Morgenstern was a speaker at the Decatur Book Festival this Labor Day weekend. She spoke on Saturday. But I missed it because I was at Dragon*Con.
We didn't buy a membership to attend Dragon*Con this year, because of the baby. Though I think she would have done okay. My mother-in-law was in town, so we went to the Dragon*Con parade, then had lunch at Durango's on Peachtree Street, on the outside patio, which is prime people watching. There are the people in costumes going from hotel to hotel for Dragon*Con.
There are the college football fans in town for some bowl game, staying in the same hotels as Dragon*Con. Husband's a football fan so that's fun for him too. He would call out "War Eagle!" to any Auburn University fan walking by. It would startle his mom every time a group would shout back "War Eagle!"
It was also Black Gay Pride Weekend in Atlanta, though up the street a bit.
Labor Day weekend in Atlanta is a great weekend of fandom of many kinds. I love it.