I give this book a solid 4/5. Here is my breakdown.
Characters: 4/5. I found Channing’s characterizations interesting and well played. She added a large cast to the story, which can get a little confusing when they’re introduced rapid-fire, but did a good job of delineating and clarifying who is who and what each of them could do. I could have used more clear descriptions of the gifts and magical talents that each knew, but overall I feel this is a strength of the novel.
Plot/Storyline: 4/5 Classic portal fantasy – kids brought from our mundane world into a magnificent, wondrous place filled with magic, but they have to save it, and they’re the only ones who can do so. But classic doesn’t mean boring, and the world that Channing has created weaves itself into the storyline like a tapestry. I enjoyed it very much.
Flow: 5/5. Another strength, and always a pleasure when done right. This book was fairly long for a YA intro book, but it blew by very quickly. Channing does her pacing right, keeping us in suspense just long enough before the reveals, and ratcheting up the tension at the right times. Well done!
Spelling/Grammar: 3/5. I noticed several typos, many that could be attributed to autocorrect error or which were simply missing words. Another run through by a good proofreader would clear up almost everything.
Overall: 4.5. A real treat. I haven’t read YA in a long time (most of my submissions are adult fantasy/sci-fi) and I’m pleased to recommend Rose Channing and The Mansion’s Twins. Pick up this book if you want realistic characters, an intriguing storyline, and a great time.