First a warning - do not attempt to read this book unless you've read the previous two books in the series: you will be extremely confused! And now a warning for those who have read the other books: this one is a little different to start with. It's a long time since the action of the previous books, and there's a new character - Wren, daughter of Hester and Tom. She's a typical teenager, rebellious and wanting her own life, and to break free from the constraints of Anchorage, a city stuck on the Dead Continent.
Things soon start happening and the action picks up, but it's not the same as the first two books. There isn't the sparkle and invention of the previous volumes. It moves quite quickly, but with no particular driving theme. I was quite disappointed, but kept reading, because I've heard that the 4th book is very good, so wanted to make sure I got through this one.
Then halfway through everything changes: from the scene where Pennyroyal and his wife Boo-Boo are having breakfast Reeve seems to find his old voice and creativity again. I was laughing out loud at some of the ridiculous names, and the references to other books and films come back again. Philip Pullman is mentioned, but in disguise, and Reeve takes a swipe at modern art as well, in the guise of Anthony Gormley. This is great for adults reading these books.
The plot also picks up, with various threads coming together to a very exciting last third of the book. Reeve is back on form with some major surprises, as well as bringing out some themes which you feel he's been building on since the first book, particular concerning the fearsome Stalkers.
Again, plenty of quite gory deaths, which some may find inappropriate for younger readers, but overall, by the end of the book I was very impressed and impatient to read number 4. So stick with this one, it's worth reading.