Of course, as everyone will know, many segments of this book are considered by some to be very unpleasant, and I admit that some segments of the book were quite disturbing. But do not let the controversy that shrouds this novel take away from it's brilliance! Firstly, the language of the book is extremely impressive. In the modern day, language is unfortunately overlooked, people preferring to keep it simple and to the point. And so reading this novel opened my eyes to a whole new world of vocabulary, and really showed me the wonders of the English language. As a student studying English at A level, it has benefited me greatly. The story itself, albeit starting rather slowly, ( as I read the rather confusing first chapter I started contemplating putting it down, but luckily decided to carry on )is absolute genius. The exploration of the relationships between characters, and the inner conflicts of certain characters ( particularly Ambrosio himself ) were a delight to read. The book seems to me an exploration of the conflict between good and evil, and how keeping a darker side suppressed for too long can end in disasters and tragedies. The greatest surprise for me, as someone expecting an entire novel of darkness and despair, was the pleasant epilogue to the lives of Agnes and Don Raymond. It seems that even after horrendous atrocities, and indescribable sufferings, there is still happiness that can be found, which I thought was beautiful. Of course, do not take this to mean that the book is full of smiles and happy endings! But if you are to read it for anything, read it for it's encapsulating story and Mathew Lewis' confident, amazing grasp of the English language. A true masterpiece!