As I've come to expect from Ms. Fisher's writing, the setting is perfect. The descriptions enfold the reader into the almost-Gothic atmosphere of the novel, and the setting itself breathes credibility into the plot. I enjoyed the pacing of the novel as well. It was a fast read, but it didn't feel simplistic in the least.
The characters are flawed and interesting. They make decisions based on pride and fear, and I found that to be authentic both for those characters and for life in general. I sympathized with the main characters, even if I didn't always agree with them or like their choices.
I enjoyed the Faustian aspect to the novel as well. Exploring the idea of bargaining with the devil to get what you want in exchange for your soul is a fascinating concept, and Ms. Fisher managed to give a new twist to it. It's hard to decide who the devil really is in this book (until the end!), and several characters have secrets that could be dangerous. I certainly think this would be an excellent novel to study in a literature class or to discuss with a book club. There are deep riches to be mined in its pages.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I wanted a bit more insight into the character of Azrael by the end of the story. I also felt like there was room for exploring a bit more of the plot, fleshing out some of what happens to Sarah between when she makes her bargain and when she returns to fulfill it. It's a shorter book, and a fast read, and I would've liked to linger in the world and explore it a bit more. There were also a few POV shifts in the middle of chapters that jarred me from the story for a minute until I adjusted.
This lovely, Gothic tale successfully explores the Faustian idea of bargaining with the devil using one's soul as collateral and delivers a fascinating twist. Flawed, authentic characters and a beautifully untamed setting add to the book's atmospheric charm.