The Twelfth Enchantment was definitely one of the more enjoyable, surprising books I’ve read recently. Although, it is funny when you finish reading a book that is 400 pages long and it feels like the author didn’t quite get the chance to really explore certain aspects of the narrative or the characters. I would have liked it if the author had gone a little bit more in-depth building the main characters and layering the Regency world with details that would have given the story added richness, and tension.
Some real world personalities show up in the book from this era, including Lord Byron and William Blake, however I don’t think they were woven in to the fictional characters’ world as well as they could have been. They appeared less flesh and blood than Liss’s own characters, and having read Tracy Chevalier’s Burning Bright, David Liss’s version of Blake seemed more like a caracature than a multi-dimensional character.
With that being said, I really enjoyed the historical setting of the Regency period, the weaving of magic, and other-worldly creatures, a female lead who transforms before our eyes from a self-doubting, reserved young woman in to a strong-willed adventurer, and the touch of Jane Austen references. There was also a great variety of characters, which added to the overall texture of the novel, and I appreciated the degree of mystery Liss wove in to this historical fiction/fantasy world. If there’s a sequel, I’d definitely read it, with the hopes that it would address some of this novel’s flaws.