So, I'm not quite done with Volume I, but I'll post my thoughts so far and come back once I finish. I'm on Chapter 19 - The Peep-O'Day-Boys - and there are 22 chapters in Volume I, which means that I have 4 chapters to finish before moving on to Volume II (Jonathan Strange).
I feel like this is a pretty fast read, in spite of the footnotes (which I love!) and the somewhat arcane language. It really does remind me so strongly of a piece of Victorian lit - either Collins or Dickens. So far, Clarke's idea has really succeeded with me. I find it immersive and enchanting, which makes sense since I am such a huge fan of lengthy Victorian tomes.
There have been a couple of magic set pieces that I really liked, the talking statutory in the cathedral, but even more so the British Rain Blockade. The necromancy really did surprise me, since I wasn't expected to see that type of dark magic in this book. And we're obviously involved with the Realm of Faerie at this point, with Lost-Hope and the midnight revels of Lady Pole and Stephen Black. I'm reminded of the Grimm Tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (one of my personal favorites).