While I was reading it, and enjoying the rich imaginary worlds and nicely rounded characters, I realised that the reason I often don't like teen fiction is that it seems to me to be somewhat anaemic. Perhaps because younger readers are not expected to pick up on subtleties of character, structure or style they are often absent. It is possible that I am being unfair, given the very small sample size I am basing all this on, but I figure blogs are supposed to be all about ill-informed agro rants so I might as well go with it.
Another Big Tick area for this book goes to the strong female leads. At times it is a tiny bit too obvious (pssst: HERE IS A GIRL, DETERMINED TO DO SOMETHING NONE OF THE VILLAGERS THINK SHE IS CAPABLE OF. What will happen?), but generally, I think it's fantastic and certainly something I remember as being a large element of my enjoyment in reading the books when younger.
I think it's a real shame there aren't more books for teens of this calibre available, especially for girls, although I read a lot of adult fiction as a teen because of this situation and maybe that isn't such a bad solution. Speaking of adult fiction, I am going to stick to that for a while now.