I've read De Lint's later works and it becomes so obvious that this is a first attempt. Overall, I liked it well enough. I just don't feel the characters are developed enough or it goes much into depth. Plus, it's a very Tolkien-esque knockoff.
We have a dark power rising to take over, deep mines abandoned by dwarves long ago, strange companions, unlikely heroes, etc. It's pretty generic fantasy with a half-hearted love story.
Cerin of course falls in love with a woman he names The Grey Rose and feels there is some terrible curse upon her. Well, it turns out he's right. He journeys to find her and saves her from what he thinks is her worst threat, but that's only the beginning.
There are elements like the magic harp she gifts him with, and some half-human or dwarf, half-beast creatures. Remind anyone of the Orukai or Hobbits? Halfbreeds anyone? There are some back stories of how Cerin's parents were cast out, Calman cursed, loves lost, etc. Ancient wars...
Nothing is very developed though. There is potential in the writing, but the plot and character variety are pretty typical fantasy. De Lint really broke away from this and found his own later. I would highly recommend "Memory and Dream," but this I could have skipped. It's typical fantasy with typical characters and a typical plot. I give De Lint credit from breaking away from this style and rising above it. What Tolkien did has been copied MUCH too often! But, I think every author has to get this out of their system before finding his or her own.