This is a very well written book. Its intricate and clever and its not just an intellectual exercise, there's strong emotional content, all in a sort of dark gothic grotesquerie full of dream logic and strangeness. The use of fairy tales and the way they are taken back to their Grimm (and grim) roots works very well. I do sometimes feel lost in an unforgiving Germanic winter landscape. It was an excellent choice to read in the month of Halloween.
So, I hear you asking, why only three stars? Because for me, and this is a very personal reaction, it never took off and became magical or dreamlike. Which, for a book about magic and dreams is kind of a problem. The elements are there, and your mileage may vary, in fact if you look at other reviews you can see that clearly it does vary.
At some point in any book there's a moment where I decide (or don't)to let go and throw myself into the story. Almost a mental pause where I think okay, here we go, and I fling myself into the next wave and let it carry me out into the unknown sea of the rest of the story. In this book, for me, that moment never arrived.
PS: For those who see fairy tales in the description, please note, this is NOT a children's book. Do not give it to kids of your accquaintance unless you know ahead of time they like things very dark and adult.