I'll have to thank Sam for the recommendation.
I adore most of these characters. I love those wild Heap boys. A large part of me longs to spend my time traversing and exploring wild fields and building snow forts along with them. I've found a place in my heart for Jenna who's strong, confident, perceptive and kind. I just know she will make a fine queen one day. Almost all the adults (at least those on the side of good) have a benevolent air. Marcie, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard is a bit impatient, but even she has goodness that shines out. There's something about Boy 412 that tugs at your heart. You know there is more to him than he first seems, but it takes a bit before you have an inkling just who and what he might be. And Aunt Zelda is the kind of wise old witch I might wish to be some day when I grow up. To add to the delight, the evil characters are top notch. Dastardly pretty much defines DomDaniel, the Hunter, and those creepy Magogs.
Angie Sage created a world I inhabited for a time. I know it's fantasy, but I became an onlooker sharing those tenement houses, quaffing beer in the ghost pub, traipsing around the Marram Marshes, and sailing those seas.
This is the kind of series I love. The book is totally satisfying all by itself, but leaves me wanting to find out more about these compelling characters and how things work out for them. As soon as I get my 'to read list' under control, I'm coming back to visit them in Flyte!
PS - this book is much more complicated and superior to Harry Potter.