The characterization is not perfect, I'd have to say. There are many memorable characters but somehow they are never in the focus, something like fairy-tale characters. Maybe that is supposed to be like that, maybe that is what gives the novel its ambiguity and beauty. I have to say that my favorite character was Abrenuncio.
One thing I didn't care for was the character that is the center of the novel- Sirva Maria. I cared for the story of her life, that is like the novel itself, sad, tragic and full of some delicate beauty. However, she as a character is just inscrutable. (spoiler) Who would buy the idea of traumatized 12 year girl falling desperately in love with a 35 year old priest? She is supposed to be raised by the slaves (that is why they suspect she is possessed by the devil- they don't understand that she has just identified with a culture they don't care to know or understand) but then suddenly she recites sonnets and behaves like a love crazed Renaissance maiden...again I repeat, she is twelve! she is a child! However, I think we can all relate to her at some level...she dies for love, from longing...and everyone who has ever been in love can understand that I'm sure, or at least to aware of how powerful those emotions can be.
So, as I said something things don't make sense to me in this novel yet that just may be what creates the surreal atmosphere and where all the magic comes from...pain, longing, great passions and great tragedies. There is just something very unique in Márquez writing.