This would have gotten two stars out of five for me if it hadn't been for the world Patricia Wrede had dreamed up for Eff to live in.
Story development was long and plodding. I suppose this a new sort of book : slice of life, fantasy style? Still, it felt like I was waiting for something to happen the entire time I was reading this book, and the payoff, if you could call it that, was lacking in oomph.
The same could be said for the main character. I understood that Eff's circumstances had caused her to take a backstage role even in her own life, but there is such a thing as being too self-effacing. I found myself more interested in Rennie, the Lydia of the family, and I hate Lydia.
I wonder if all the care Wrede put in crafting this frontier world had taken up too much of the story. The magical theories, the wildlife and environment, and the way of life on the frontier represented much of the book's pull for me, but that isn't enough to make this book truly memorable, or something I'd want to pick up again.
I was glad when I found out that this appears to be the first in a series. I don't want to give up on Eff just yet, so here's hoping Patricia Wrede doesn't let us down!