My thoughts after listening to this book: Wonderfully written (and very excellently narrated by Davina Porter), but way too long, especially given the nature of the book, and its unrelenting gloom. I have come to the conclusion that this is not a children's book: it is a book about children. The writing is beautiful and descriptive, but it took forever to get to the point (for a children's book.) This book seems to be more of an atmospheric character study, rather than plot-driven, which isn't bad for a book, but doesn't seem like a great idea for it's intended audience, 8-12 year olds. My two older daughters (ages 11 and 13) read it (or tried to, in the case of the 11 year old) before I did and were not impressed with the book.
Don't let my impressions stop you from reading it, or, better yet, listening to it. It may be right up your alley.
On the narrator, Davina Porter: I was so impressed with her narration. She did a superlative job with the characterizations, accents, everything. I will seek out more of her work.