3.5 stars. I liked the amount of description, and several of the non-main characters. Meggie's aunt Elinor, Farid and Dustfinger were my favorites. I especially liked the aunt, she was in many ways the most admirable person in the story, and I envied her her house of books in the middle of the woods.
The weakest aspect of the story was the villains. While they were unpleasant, they were generally uninteresting. The author tried to give Capricorn a quirk by having him wear loud outfits, but that did not add interest to him. Basta was tiresome and loud, full of threats he never went through with. Maybe we were supposed to find him semi sympathetic because he was so thoroughly under Capricorn's power, but instead I found him unintelligent and flat. The plot was a bit tiresome as well since not a whole lot magical really went on until the end. Most of the story involved the heroes being captured, escaping, being captured again, and escaping again. It was a long book, but could have been a good 100-200 pages shorter if the story had been rearranged so that one entire "capture/escape" could have been eliminated.
It sounds like I completely disliked the story, but that is not true at all. It was over 500 pages, and while I believe it could have been better at 350, it wasn't a real chore to get through. The description was done well enough that I was able to enjoy the scenes with all of my virtual senses. The little segments at the beginning of each chapter, pulled from many classic tales, suited the chapters very well and intrigued me enough that I may read a few of them. And as I said, I really did like several of the supporting characters.