There were parts of this book that I really liked, like the last 200 - 300 pages. The rest of it was so mixed that I almost gave up on it about 10 times. It took a long, long time to get going (about 200 pages) and after that most of the magic seemed almost completely unrelated to the plot, the descriptions were long and rambling, the jokes fell flat and the plot seemed to be unnecessarily complicated. There were too many pointless and disruptive footnotes and I found my mind wandering for large chunks then coming back to find that I hadn't really missed anything that mattered. Sometimes I like books like this, sometimes the tangents are fun and entertaining, in this book, not so much.The ending, however, was great. I was completely absorbed for the last fourth of the book and it made me glad I stuck with it. I think Susanna Clarke has potential to be a great writer--her overall style and the breadth of her knowledge was awesome, but this book felt like it needed some major editing before I'd call it great.