There are many books that I might as well not have read for all that I can remember of them, but Gormenghast remains vividly alive for me years later. The castle is more real in my mind than many places I've visited in reality. The settings and chatacters are so well realized that my imagination hardly had to fill in any blanks.
Grotesquery pervades nearly every passage, but not always of a revolting kind. Moments of great humor, suspense, dread, and outrage drive the story, with an engaging plot threading through the first two installments. The third breaks abruptly from the rest of the trilogy, and I don't pretend to understand why Peake chose to go in the direction he did. This is not to say that the third part is bad - it is quite good - but the continuity with the previous parts is nearly entirely cut. There remain strong thematic connections, and I do perceive an overall relationship and point, but I remain confused by the shift nonetheless. Perhaps you won't be.
I do not recommend this book for anyone looking for a page turner or who is put off by an unconventional style. Gormenghast is like a huge panoramic painting in words. Don't look for a linear, action-driven structure. Just dive in and let Peake's unparalleled prose transport you to one of the most complex and bizarre psychological landscapes around.
This edition also includes some critical essays by prominent writers. I have not finished reading these, but they appear very worthwhile.