I really did expect to like this series a lot more than I do when I added it to my reading list years ago, and perhaps this wasn't the right time to finally read it, but as it was I was disappointed. From the start it wasn't what I expected in terms of story or style, and my stolid dismissal of Nix's other middle-grade offering (Troubletwisters) makes me think I'm just not the right audience for those works. The world and characters populating it never engaged me, and I never believed in the sickness the protagonist is so staunchly against. It just felt so fill-in-the-blanks to me, and despite being a fairly short read it seemed to drag on. Also I found Nix repeating himself in places I thought should've been edited down as it did nothing for the story or pacing. This book just wasn't for me. I'll happily stick with the Sabriel books and look forward to the day when they've been added to my shelves.