(Rating 2.5)Meh. I can't work up a head of steam to actively dislike this book, though I certainly didn't love it. I did think parts of the story were evocative but could not help comparing it to Winter's Tale and it suffered for that. So, while I was somewhat intrigued by atmosphere, I was never startled or captivated by it.Since it was clear early on that the book was all stagecraft and little else, I expected two dimensional characters and didn't even really mind the unexplained plot points or the meandering descriptive narrative as long as there was a pretty image or two to keep me going and, to be fair, the author did provide those. I could even forgive the idiotic contest which never made any sense at all, even in the context of the imagined world. What I couldn't accept and was truly annoyed by was the love story, which was the absolute dullest I've read since Stephen King's 11/22/63. Can anyone write a decent love story these days, or am I just signing up for crappy ones? Seriously, my goldfish have more allure.