I'll just get this out of the way up front: Eldric is my new main man. Also, don't be put off by the style of prose - odd turns of phrase or the mish-mash language spoken by some of the residents of Swampsea.I was so very pleasantly surprised to find myself pulled into this book. Briony is a witch. She'll tell us that but not anyone else. She killed Stepmother, injured her twin sister, and runs the risk of killing anyone else that crosses her. So we are told. When Eldric and his father move to Swampsea, Briony's tightly wound life begins to relax and the flower blooms again on the vine.One of my very favorite characters in this story is Briony. Her voice is so strong and so distinct. Briony can be no one but Briony. She's complex, strong willed, and doesn't always make the right decisions. Oh, she thinks she does, though. I laughed so much at her internal dialog and her verbal jabs. Her self-hatred had me shaking my head and reaching in for a hug.Eldric, her love interest and all around great boy-man, was also wonderful. He and Briony worked so well together, and I'm pleased to say that their relationship seemed real. It was based on young love instead of contrivance, plot advancement, or s-e-x. All of their interactions - the silly club, the townies, his careful way with her family - struck me as real.Rose, ever so slow and ever so sharp, lingered in the background and jumped to life when necessary. Her OCD-ness and her love of her fireman left me smiling.The plot was a bit transparent at times. I figured out things well ahead of Briony but I was okay with that. I just waited to see how long it would take Briony to figure it out and how she'd react.There are many, many funny lines in the book. I enjoyed the dialog as much as I enjoyed the fantasy world that was created. Of course, there's a bit of a message at the end of the book. A bit of a warning. Favorite quote and a great example of the author's turn of phrase: "I felt as though I were a music box in want of winding. Yes, as though I were a music box and the tune were my life, playing more and more slowly with every passing day. Finally, not even I could recognize it. The notes were stretched too far apart. They were no longer notes, they were plinks. I wound down to a plink." In summary, loved it. I read a library copy but have already ordered my own so that I can revisit Briony, Eldric, and Rose again and again.