Definitely an odd book -- but I am glad I read it! Absolutely gorgeous writing -- which, however, swings between the highly evocative and the deliberately absurd. The quote about dog-scientists is quite well known, I believe, but consider this one, too:
And there was a repast all ready cooked and spread, waiting for Ramon Alonzo. By what arts those meats were kept smoking upon that table ready for any stranger that should come in from the wood, ....I tell not to this age, for it is far too well acquainted already with the preservation of meat. (p. 20)
The plot is -- perhaps -- a tad predictable, but in a very satisfactory way. The book ended just as I wished it would -- as every good fairy tale should.I found it much easier to get involved in this story than in The King of Elfland's Daughter, which is equally beautifully written, but much more static.I would recommend it to anyone who likes art fairy tales, such as those by George MacDonald, and who enjoys perfectly crafted, but weighty, and sometimes odd, prose.