“I cannot remember the last time I became so engrossed in a YA book. In fact this is a book I would endorse for any age mature enough to handle the complexities of the inherent violence and horror in the plot. There's also some reference to sexual activity. The characters aren't chaste, but nothing happens on page.
The characterization and plot are quite mature. Nick, the point of view character for most of the story, initially comes across as someone with a psychopathic personality and a learning disability in a dark fantasy situation where violence is likely to explode at any minute. His mother who is at the epicenter of the violence rejects him and his only long term connection is his brother Alan. Then their lives are invaded by two other emotionally abandoned young people and they form an unlikely household.
Despite the fact that christianity is not referenced in the book there is are themes that will resonate with those who know the religion. However, it is not a religious book at all. God has no place in this dystrophian world of demons, magicians and the rather fascinating Goblin Market.
Recommended with the above caveats. ”