3.75 out of 5 starsSplendors and Glooms is a hard beast for me to categorize upon finishing; it's labelled most commonly as middle grade, and while some elements certainly come across that way, others are far more mature and advanced than usually seen for that genre. It's a dark, detailed and very Gothic tale of two orphans at the whims of two very unpleasant and unscrupulous people. For all that Splendors and Glooms talks a big game and my initial enjoyment (and apprehension! Kids trapped in dolls - freaaaky), I was mildly let down by several stretches in this 400 page book; after the kids flee London there is an extended lull in the pacing and events (read: not a lot happens for 75-100 pages or so)of the book; and for a final conflict with a mad witch, an evil magician/puppeteer and three smart, creative kids, the finale of this came off as far too easy and simple. It lacked excitement or suspense when it should have been most riveting.I enjoyed this, but it wasn't the great experience I'd hoped for. Splendors and Glooms was good - fun, with a few unseen twists to keep me intrigued as the serviceable prose and likeable, if not wholly developed, characters meandered their way through the plot.Full review to come.