The characters are sympathetic and the plot interesting, but the writing couldn't support it - it ended up feeling self-indulgent too often.
What a great book! Intricately detailed, interestingly written, wonderful handling of history both real and created, and the magic was brought in seamlessly. The conceit of scholarly footnotes was great. Overall a wonderful combination of funny and very dark. As long as it was, it would have kept my interest more than twice that long. Great for lovers of historical fiction and mysteries like 'Instance of the Fingerpost' and 'Name of the Rose.'
I admit I'm biased: I love both Holmes stories and Gaiman. Still, this is a great tale, and Gaiman is a great reader.
Gaiman is excellent as usual, and the reader handles the voices and accents wonderfully. I have recommended both book and audio to many people and read/listened to it myself multiple times.
I anticipated liking the book but not being particularly moved by it, but in fact I became deeply attached to the characters and their situations. The difficult subject and relationships were deftly handled, and the book carried an emotional punch. Having the chapters told in the voices of several different characters was an effective way to let each character become known intimately.
I listened to the whole thing and did enjoy it, but the plot felt contrived right from the start and never improved. The writing, too, was too forced and unnatural. I was looking for something similar to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and this was *definitely* not it.
I liked how the whole thing was centered around the tightrope walker - it was nice seeing the different ways that unconnected event was woven into other people's lives. The writing had some beautiful moments where it sounded almost like poetry, and for the first part, before the various relationships were clear, it really did feel like a collection of poems. The characters were sympathetic and their voices mostly convincing. The last chapter, though, was a disappointment.
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