McKillip's writing style is simply lovely, her imagery stunning. Half the beauty of the book is simply the wording and ideas. The other half is the plot, which doesnt disappoint. It is so full of twists and turns that at several points I wasnt sure who was good, who was bad, and who I was rooting for. Despite having 4-5 main characters (not including the firebird or the witch) in at least three places at once, it was never confusing. Everything comes together at the end just the way it should. I think I would have loved this book when I was a pre-teen just as much as I did as an adult.