Being a big fan of Diana Wynne Jones, I was disappointed in this book. It reads more like a rush job and sadly didn't hold up to its predecessor, Dark Lord of Derkholm.
There doesn't seem to ever be a direct plot and I never feel close to any of the characters. I could also do without all of the pairing up. By the middle of the book I was pushing forward simply so I could finish it, hoping it would get better. It's definitely not one of Jones' best works.