I really liked this book. The two main characters are utterly different, and it takes a long time for the connection between their two stories to show up, and some really, seriously horrible things happen to them--but it has a hopeful ending. One character--Mildmay the Fox--is a scarred thief who loves stories, but can't read. The other--Felix Harrowgate--is a brilliant wizard--a "hocus" in the local slang. Both of them have been cruelly taken advantage of--and the cruelty isn't over. It can be hard to read, but I had that hopeful ending promise and kept going, and got there. I can take angst and even torture, if there's a promise that things won't end in the dark. The characters have their flaws--oh, and one of them is gay, the other isn't, if that matters to you--they're stubborn, sometimes cruel, sometimes crazy--but it kept me riveted. I really, really liked this book.