The narrative asides to the illustrator (which said illustrator cheekily ignores or subverts), the sly allusions to everything from Star Wars (I actually choked when I got to the line about the Rebel Alliance -- and I know that sounds like a plot spoiler, but it isn't) to Sherlock Holmes, the cracktastic plot which turns out to be perfectly logical in its own bizarre way, and best of all the way it lovingly lampoons all the classic British fantasy authors I read as a kid... I can't remember the last time I had this much fun reading anything. Well, aside from when I read the prequel Larklight, that is.
I think I need to add "stalking Philip Reeve's brain NOM NOM NOM" to my Interests list. Or considering that in his better portraits he looks gratifyingly like a fortysomething, slightly geekier version of Paul McCormick, maybe just "stalking Philip Reeve", period.* :)
* Only kidding, Mr. Reeve. I have my dignity. Or at least I think I left it somewhere around here.