I am frustrated because I do not know enough (yet) to decide whether this is a great or terrible book. The author is either a genius or an imbecile and the story is either a cultural prototype or painfully derivative. I just don't know.
Is the stilted language an insightful imitation of a badly translated story or merely bad?
Is the plot stunningly original or numbingly repetitive?
Are the characters the brilliant progenitors of stereotypes or only shadowy successors?
Bob Kane admits the Zorro influence on Batman, but how much has McCulley cribbed from The Scarlet Pimpernel? How much comes from earlier sources (it feels like Robin Hood to me...)
This is why I read, because each new book is not only enjoyable in and of itself but adds layers of context and history that allow me to reevaluate what I already have read, while simultaneously suggesting avenues of exploration I have never considered before.