This book is the first in a new fantasy series that explores the possibilities of alternate realities and how things might develop differently depending on a series of circumstances. It also includes lots of puzzles and riddles, but in a way that makes sense through the storytelling. They flow naturally as part of the plot.[return][return]I especially appreciated the focus on family, though it did seem that Tick's parents were a little too accepting of all that was happening at times. Still, it was a nice change of pace to read a fantasy novel with a protagonist whose parents are both still alive, together, and involved in his life. Having involved family in a story creates a completely different dynamic than having an absent family (through either disinterest or death), and it tends to complicate matters, often in a delightful--at least for readers--way.