I was a little apprehensive about picking this up. I've known the author since high school and hadn't read anything she'd written since then. What if I hated it? I've hated friends' books before. And it's full of fairies and magic children and angels. Oh s***. I'm going to hate this and have to pretend I don't.What I had forgotten to keep in mind is that Chrysoula's smart and talented and just as bored by the cliches of contemporary fantasy as I am. And it took about 10 pages to get from concerned to "hey, this is pretty good", followed shortly by "wait, I genuinely like this". And I stayed there all the way to the end.The kids feel like kids, not like miniature plot devices. The protagonist isn't "a conflicted magic wielding female who kills big bad" as another friend of mine disparaged other fantasy novel protagonists. It's a great first novel. If there's a sequel, I'll read it.