I loved this right until the last 50 pages or so. Where things went pear shape. I loved the academic settings, the classical culture the characters are immersed in. I loved how the plot was brought on, we knew who, we kinda knew how, we just didn't know why. Yes, it has a touch of pretentiousness, a little, tiny bit of look how erudite I am in the style, in the way the story is offered. This was Tartt first novel and what a first novel it is. I've read her subsequent novel and liked it well enough but this is by far my favourite.