This book had the potential to be truly enchanting. Unfortunately, despite having some beautiful imagery, it was clunky, the many many characters were not authentic or believable, and the dark subject matter was not overcome by the escapism that fantasy worlds are supposed to offer. I didn't feel the plot had a solid direction, and felt more like a sub plot than an actual story arc.
If I hadn't read De Lint before, I would have been very confused by the large, and mostly unexplained, cast of characters. Many of his other stories are interwoven with this one, but it was not satisfying for me, despite being a little nostalgic.
The world that De Lint creates is beautiful, as I said. It's vivid and full of magic. But that's only one part of a story. A novel needs a solid direction, and this one simply didn't have it. I'm sad to give this novel three stars, because the world building deserves a five.