I found this book rather disappointing as it could have been truly wonderful. The central idea of a boy with a delicate, cuckoo-clock heart that cannot cope with strong emotion is a charming one, and there were several points where the imaginative ideas of the author were both original and enchanting. However, the execution does not live up to the ideas. The romance between the two central characters is presented as far too sexual in nature for their ages at the beginning of the story, which makes it very unrealistic(though is perfectly appropriate later as teenagers in the throes of hormones and passion). Whilst the language is very beautiful at points, sometimes that beauty has absolutely no meaning - just nice words which don't actually say anything (although I did read this in translation, so it is hard to know how much of this is the author and how much the translation). The story is bitty and underdeveloped, as are most of the characters. This was particularly problematic with Miss Acacia, who I never felt I got to either know or understand. In particular, anachronistic references to modern icons such as Charles Bronson are totally inappropriate in a late nineteenth century context and really distanced me from the story. I feel this is a book that could really have benefited from the hand of a great editor to sharpen it up - the essential gothic fairytale story is quite a lovely one with a fantastic mix of dark and light, but the writing lets the ideas down.