I toyed with only giving this book 4 stars, as there are a few editing/proof-reading errors and I think the characters are a shade immature in their development (to be clear: their development by the author is excellent, but I feel she's painted a few too youngish; at times I nearly flashed on my niece's past addiction to the Redwall books -- but not quite), but that would be churlish, given the hours of enjoyment I nevertheless found in this book.
I will be eagerly anticipating the other two thirds of this trilogy (even paying for them!), as well as Elizabeth Mock's own maturing in her writing style. Already delightful, I expect her future work to be nothing but stellar.
Being the frugal sort (read: cheap bastard), I sample the freebies first, and I've "kissed many frogs" before finding this gem. Elizabeth's work will keep me hopeful that there still are great new talents out there, grain amidst the chaff, just awaiting the opportunity to be discovered.
My most sincere best wishes to Elizabeth to slavishly labor over the sequels and deliver them both promptly (soon, please!), but not before she's polished them to her absolute satisfaction.