I picked up this book thinking it would be something like Brandon Mull's Narnia-like tales, featuring young people stumbling into secret portals that lead into exotic and fascinating worlds, where they then have countless adventures. The cover of the book is a bit misleading in this regards. But it proved to be a lot different from what I anticipated.The protagonists were in their early teens, yes. But the entire plot seems so maturely thought up and masterfully played out that I got surprised at every turn. Highly unpredictable, it was. The characters were quite mature, despite their age, giving an unusual blend of youthful enthusiasm and mature thinking. I think that's what I liked best about the book. There's also a number of underlying themes in the book. It was quite interesting to see how Aedan conquered his fear. His love for his friend and hate for his father show just how far love and hate can take one, how thin the threads that separate both are, and how quickly one can dissolve into the other. I learnt a lot from this book. It's unfortunate the second book isn't out yet. But when it does, it's jumping straight to the top of my tbr list!