This book isn’t really quite what you’d expect if you know McKillip’s other work; it’s for a younger audience, and it feels like a different sort of story altogether. It’s more like… Famous Five, with ghosts; it’s not the total magic of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld or Winter Rose. It’s fairly specifically placed in time and space, and it has a lot of concrete, real-world detail.
The writing is still absorbing, the characters well portrayed, but the magic is really what I read McKillip’s work for, and this wasn’t at all like that. It’s also, as I said, rather younger; the kids are very frustratingly kids. Realistically, but yeesh. Puberty is not so interesting when you’re out on the other side of it.
I’m fairly lukewarm about it, in the end; it was fun enough to read, but it’s not by any measure a favourite and I wouldn’t have minded having to skip it.