I picked this up because I wanted a fund diverting fantasy, maybe with a light romance thrown in for flavor.
Instead I got this dark, convoluted monster of a novel, in which nothing is simple, event the characters you love can be terrible, ad all your expectations are brought into a startling, hideous light.
This book gave me nothing I wanted, but what it gave me instead was much better. It is not for the feint of hearth. Read it
Peake creates visuals in your imagination more striking than those of Tim Burton, and his mode is a type of mythopoeic grotesque operating on gleeful, Dickensian exaggeration. This novel is a most unusual page-turner and a pure pleasure to read. One caution: it may leave you dissatisfied with 99% of fantasy novels being published today.
Full disclosure: this is my desert island book. Clive Barker (my future husband) displays the fecundity of his imagination by creating a dark fantasy epic on the scale of Tolkien full of deliciously sacrilegious subtext. The characters and scenes within have woven themselves into my psyche never to be unraveled. Thank Goddess.