This marks a return to form after the disappointing Clariel. It also marks a return to the story of Lirael, Remembrancer and Abhorsen-in-waiting, picking up during the events of the novella, The Creature in the Case. We also get a new protagonist in the form of Ferin, a girl from one of the far northern tribes, beyond the Old Kingdom's power. It's a ripping yarn and I gobbled it down.
For over 3/4 of the book I thought it was just setting up for a sequel, then, abruptly, I realised it was going to resolve the plot before it ended, meaning that the actual quest is rather rushed and the final victory felt too easy, given such a formidable opponent, but over-all I thought this was a lot of fun.