It's a wonderful book, and it's with great sorrow and annoyance that I have to say it will never be one of my favorite books, because of the incredibly cheap and easy-way-out thing it does about 3/4ths of the way through. Specifically, I was already harboring a moderate annoyance over the deformed and sociopathic villain--a villain who is a villain because he is a villain, when all the other characters in this book, on both sides, are so deftly and sympathetically drawn. That was bad enough. Having the bad guy kick puppies and rape farmgirls to establish his loathsomeness is, to my mind, a sophomore mistake, and Kay's too good a writer to have to resort to it. (Sociopaths make perfectly fine villains. But even sociopaths need believable motivations.)
But the real capper is when the book's only dip into the villain's POV occurs as he is about to be killed, so we can (a) appreciate his villainy the more and (b) so we can glory a little better in his trapped-rat scuttling as he tries to weasel his way out.
I almost closed the book and walked away. But I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't, because everything on both sides of those few dozen pages in the middle is quite wonderful and sprawling and delicious. Anyway, overall, I liked it.