Once again, I submerse myself in McKinley's world, fighting those first few minutes when my head is underwater, then relaxing and breathing in the magic. Initially, I struggled with the slang and Maggie's complaining teenage POV. And then the plot kicks in. McKinley is a master craftsman, each element of this story is set up to support a cascade of action, character growth, and magic that swept all the way to the end. The mundane elements and quiet character moments touched my heart, and I found myself reading Mongo scenes aloud to my husband. Beneath the magic and intrigue of this world, McKinley has created people I cared about and animals I loved.