This book was 624 pages, took me three weeks to read despite reading it obsessively at any chance I got, and still it was over too soon for me. I loved the prose, which was the perfect balance of discreet and poetic. Here's a passage about Harriet, the main character, holding her breath in water for several minutes:
Harriet had stopped being scared. Something strange had taken her over. Chains snapped, locks broke, gravity rolled away; up she floated, up and up, suspended in airless night: arms out, an astronaut, weightless. Darkness trembled in her wake, interlinked circlets, swelling and expanding like raindrop rings on water. [p. 549]
I loved Harriet. My favourite detail was that she didn't like children's books because when the children in them grew up, they "abandoned heroic adventures for some dull sweetheart, got married and had families, and generally started acting like a bunch of cows," (p. 141) which is something that bothers me about a lot of books. And, after reading that line, I was even more interested in Harriet's own fate, and what kind of person she would be after embarking on her epic and dangerous mission. But I liked everything about her, really. She was intelligent, stubborn, driven, and more honest than anyone else in the book. I wanted her to succeed.
At the same time, the plot was riveting. There were points in the book where I was so excited to find out what was going to happen, I couldn't tear myself away from it. I read way too late into the night, which is always a good sign for me. I guess I'll have to get me a copy of Tartt's other book, The Secret History.