Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.
Phoenix by Peter Dickinson: the premise of this one was fascinating and the characterizations worked very well, I thought. I was a little confused by the setting at first; I couldn't tell if they were meant to be in England or America, or if Ellie was American visiting England (actually, I'm still not sure about that).
Hellhound by Robin McKinley: Okay, I'm going to admit to being a bit fangirl and reading McKinley's blog. So, given my background knowledge that McKinley has two dogs she refers to as hellhounds, I enjoyed this story a lot. Not that I'm trying to suggest that Miri is simply an extension of McKinley, although clearly they share some of the same interests. I also enjoyed the way family was shown in this one, and I felt that, although I tend to associate her work with ahistorical settings, this modern day story worked very well.
Fireworm by Dickinson: I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, but I think it was mostly personal prejudice* against prehistoric settings, rather than anything Dickinson did.
Salamander Man by Dickinson: probably my favorite of Dickinson's stories. The world was one of those where it's clearly not ours, but its just enough like ours to make it seem familiar. I liked the way Dickinson drew on the historical significance of salamanders while also expanding it.
First Flight by McKinley: absolutely my favorite story of the whole book. Ern was such a likeable character and I loved the way his relationship with his older brother was shown. Their world was also fascinating, and the conflict seemed both significant and not over-drawn.