I asked for this book to be sent to me thinking that it was the third in the series starting with The Goose Girl. Oops. As it turns out that book is River Secrets, which I have now ordered.
That mistake in no way detracts from this very excellent book. It was a bold choice on Hale's part to set a story that originally was European in a Mongolian-type setting. But she did it very well. The personal narration of Dashti made her character come instantly alive, and the little illustrations accompanying the text are beautiful. I'd say this book is in some ways darker than The Goose Girl, which is not to say that it is bad in any way.
Of Hale's books that I've read, I'd say that she does her best work when she is re-telling a fairy tale. This book is a lovely read; I gulped it down in one long sitting this afternoon. While I enjoy the Bayern stories, I am also happy to see that Hale can move to a different location and sketch it as believably and interestingly. A prime example of a good Young Adult book. Highly recommended for slightly more mature readers.