I was a little disappointed in the “lucky” coincidences of the plot, especially since I have come to expect so much from Joan Aiken’s writing. The plot felt really contrived as time after time the heroes are saved from disaster by some random happenstance. The main characters seem to float around from place to place, making a half-formed plan that doesn’t really accomplish anything, and then they are miraculously saved! AGAIN! by some incredibly lucky accident. And the ending was especially contrived and unsatisfactory.
Other than that, the writing is great! Joan Aiken has such a beautiful writing style that pulls you into the story, creates emotional connections to the characters, and describes a vivid setting. Her writing and characters are imaginative and interesting and weird!
Still well worth the read, but not her best in this series.