I wish I could say I enjoyed it: the Sweeney Todd bit was pure Pratchett spin, and the social dynamics of the Peelers, the Toshers, and so on was worth it, and you picked up some interesting tidbits here and there. But my God, it's way
too talky. The pacing was just awful, and I had to force myself to read it several times. It also felt too abrupt at the beginning, though that might just be because any example of in media res would look abrupt compared to the rest of the novel. Granted, you get an idea for what's considered ordinary in this world later on, amid the extraordinary happenings, but the way it started, I thought Dickens was going to play a much more central role than he did.
Also, the characters are in general less interesting as a result. Dodger himself was fine, but so many people talked so often that it almost overshadows virtually anything else they did, which is a pity because what they're doing was often very interesting. Lastly, the villain "twist" was just underwhelming, both because the
was just not nearly unexpected enough nor really fleshed out in much detail, and because the "final showdown" was so anticlimactic that it rubs off on the reveal a bit.
It's not awful overall, but the brilliant novel this could have been (and make no mistake: Pratchett's style is
in there somewhere, in the details and story points) is so badly buried under tons of fat and padding that it's either dead or very unhealthy.
Also, is Simplicity really Anastasia? It feels anachronistic, but I spent a good chunk of the novel wondering. Memory doesn't serve me well, but I think it mentioned or implied that she was an international refugee, that she was royalty, and I have the nagging sensation there were one or two other details that got me thinking.