I was recommended this book by a friend who happened across it by chance - it sounded interesting, so I dipped into it, unsure of what to expect.
I finished it in an afternoon's mad surge of engrossed reading.
This is the sort of book (and series) that you want when you're ill; when you remember what it's like to be a child confined to bed with just the otherworlds of books to keep you company. Fast-paced, imaginative, with the right amount of dark humour and a protagonist who's a mix of insightful and oblivious (rather than Mary-Sue perfect), I am looking forward immensely to seeing where the story goes.
My only gripe is that while the general magic/occult used is very well described and played out, the book does seem a little... well... frankly, sexist in places. Aside from the idolising of the mother character, women are blatantly described as something to be feared and wary of. All witches are women, therefore all women are evil. I'm pretty sure this is something that will develop (as there are no doubt reasons why the characters feel the way they do), but it grated a little to me if this book were to stand alone.
Of course, I have books two and three already, so I'll prepare to be corrected - and hope very much to enjoy the continuing journey.