I almost quit this book. The opening is rife with stuffy old men of a magical society that speak in such a way that I was completely lost half the time. Zacharias, the Sorcerer Royal (kind of a big deal) and leader to these craggy fussbutt magicians, was not my normal hero. He's mild mannered, gentle, and for the first several chapters, a doormat. Muddy language and a milksop character? I didn't know if I had it in me.
Thank goodness I made it to chapter 4.
Once Prunella enters the fray and is introduced in Chapter 4, everything changes for the better. The story forms a plot (why has magic been so stagnant and draining from England?), the characters show some chutzpah, and Zacharias' quietly clever nature is better balanced.
In short, after Chapter 4, it switches from being a snoozefest to a quirky and charming fantasy romp. If I were completely honest, any of the chapters sans Prunella were a struggle but I forgive a great many faults in a book with a strong ending. That's definitely the case here. Wow. I closed the book with a lovely sigh.