This was very much a so-so book for me.The characters were all decent characters. Pretty well developed, mostly likeable and easy to relate to. The writing was interesting. It was in a journal format, so a tad different from what I'm used to, but nothing that difficult to get into.What made this an average read for me was the plot. It's not a long book, but not really short either. Yet nothing really starts happening until the last 50 pages. I was bored and not eager at all to pick it up until I got to those pages, and then I didn't want to put it down. But beyond that, it's just all back story and history of the country and the family and kids running around a broken down castle. It just...wasn't interesting. It seemed like the only point in this book was for the last 50 pages which led to the sequel...which might be more of a companion anyway.If you really want to read the sequel (which was my motivation for reading this), then I recommend you read this book even though it's tough. But if you're uninterested...try getting it from the library.