This book was like finding a new best friend. Something just CLICKED. First off, Westerfeld's writing is beautiful. It's functional, it's evoking, and it's gorgeous without being bogged down by an excess amount of detail. It's just glorious. I loved the interaction between the two main characters (when it finally happened) and I love that Deryn hiding her gender ended up being a more original plot device than the concept usually ends up becoming. Speaking of that business, Deryn's character was not bogged down by the conflict of hiding her gender. I honestly believe Deryn is the first female hiding herself as a boy that I didn't find annoying at any point in the story. The science and the research that went into this novel is fascinating, and completely solid. Everything seems real. I forget that I'm reading a book and I'm right in with the action and the story. Brilliant story. I wish it would have had more of an ending, though, despite that I know that it's just the first book. I wished there was more of a conclusion with the characters and the plot. Of course, I'm sure he planned it this way to keep readers itching for the sequel. One I can hopefully get my hands on very soon . . .