The unique quality about this book is its narration from a bird’s point of view. I enjoyed the author’s realistic portrayal of Wisp’s instinctive pull to migrate, the hierarchies and cultural differences among bird species, the enticement of certain insects vs. others, etc. I thought that the author’s descriptions of the birds’ flight path were also well illustrated, giving the reader a distinct sense of the different environments through which the birds travel and also of the physical effort it would take to migrate!
I think that the basic story appeals to a general audience with its likeable teenage-boy-bird voice, motley crew of flying companions, and the episodes of chase and race-against-time thrown in to keep the plot going. That being said, I did find at times that the story dragged. Even with the thrill aspect of the Guardians’ chase, I found myself waiting for the migration to end (which I suppose, in retrospect, creates an even more realistic context for the story–i.e. migration takes a long time).
I also had some issue with language in that I felt it was unnecessarily crude at times. Granted that this book, with its young male adult protagonist, obviously caters to the older readers in the 8-12/3 group, I still found that there were inappropriate uses of crude/vulgar language (“bird sh–,” “ass,” etc.), especially considering the younger readers who may take an interest in this book.
Overall, a good creature adventure story with some entertaining characters and a crew of bad guys to spice up the plot.