I always get a kick out of reading about everyday characters in out-of-the-ordinary situations. You get to see how the character reacts and grows as the story goes on. And Abby, the lead character, has a lot of growing to do in this, the first of a trilogy. She finds herself far from the home she knows, in more ways than one...
The story gets into high gear pretty quickly as our hero Abby receives a message from a strange creature in the fog. This is a big plus for me, as I'm not a fan of pages and pages of exposition. I like a story to start with the action, and that's how Phantom draws us in.
The Scottish setting isn't merely here for a different flavour, it's integral to the plot and I really enjoyed digging into the mythology of the creatures and faeries. Much like the Percy Jackson books thrive on the legends of Greek mythology, this book gains a distinct personality from its setting. Dialogue is natural - including the Scottish character Rory, who is easy to read, and shouldn't be a problem for younger readers. The relationship between the two leads develops and a steady, believable rate too.
Also, the novel isn't overly long, and there's enough here to make me look forward to the next in the series. Oh, and it's not often you get a telepathic dog, so that's an automatic extra mark.
With fantasy, time-travel, and magic, there's plenty here for readers to enjoy. Recommended for readers between 10-14 in particular, although like any good fantasy story people of all ages can enjoy it.