I didn't want to follow the crowd and give this book five stars. I wanted to be realistic. Bring a critical eye to the table. But...Mother Hubbard! This is a good story. A great one!
And, honestly, when I look at some elements of it, that sort of surprises me. Right off the bat, you see what would appear to be that overly complex Look At How Big My Vocabulary Is writing style. And references to Poe? Hot Topic left a very sour taste in my mouth in regards to such things. And yet...for these and other potential pitfalls, the author manages to justify them. Tropes that you'd assume are cliché or trite feel, much like Simon Meeks himself, entirely genuine.
I will admit that the dialogue is often too complex and witty to read like natural speech, but even that is a small criticism compared to just how clever and fun and moving that dialogue can be.
There are so many characters and concepts in this book that are so wonderful they make me mad. For, now that I've read of them, I can't think of them on my own. And oh, how I wish I had, for even a scant handful of them!
A story like this could have turned out an absolute mess. It clearly took great skill to keep a firm hold of the reins, but author and editors, somehow, manage just that.
[5 of 5 Stars!]