I really enjoyed this book – until the end. It has a very whimsical nature and what reads like (in my mind, at least) a very dry, British humor. The audiobook of this should be a gas. I love the way that DeWitt has written the dialogue between the characters. It has a very cinematic flow that made it a joy to read, all arched eyebrows and nuanced looks.
While not a capital-F Fantasy, this is still sort of in that realm, but shoulders into magic realism as well. Our hero, Under Major Domo Lucy Minor, has a knack with coincidence that pushes the boundaries of reality but that is the way with fairy and morality tales anyway.
Like I said, this was great up until the end, where the author left it open to further questing so perhaps there is a sequel on the way? In many ways, the way it left me was similar to The Fellowship of the Ring or The Golden Compass. So many questions were left open and, while certain ends were tied up, what I felt was the main drive for the novel – Lucy’s love for and loyalty to the lovely Klara – just kind of went…POOF! I need closure!
As a parent, I was totally going to buy a copy of this for my teen daughter, because it is everything that she loves in a novel, but about halfway through there is such an adult scene (although played for laughs, I think) that I scrubbed that idea immediately.
I recommend this book with reservations.