I think people don't realize that this book is actually closer to poetry than just a straightforward novel is. When you open it, don't expect to get some cute-sy lovelorn story about a beautiful girl and a monster. I almost think the dust-jacket description leads you in the wrong direction. This is a slow-moving, detail-filled, encyclopedia of a story. It can impress you, bore you, or engage you, but just be aware of what it is before you jump in.