I. Loved. This. Book. The last time I read a series opener for middle grade readers that was as charming, engaging, mature, and touching as this was the first time I read the Harry Potter series when I was young. This book had heart, spunk, and magic that was handled so maturely that I often caught myself forgetting that this was a book for children. I really appreciate when middle grade novels takes themselves as seriously as their readers will, and Ritter showed extreme expertise in crafting a narrative that is both approachable for children and illustrative the brilliant craft they will come to read as they grow older. The characters were lovable and complex, the world was well developed without being overwhelming, and the plot kept me guessing with each turn. In a genre that is often defined by young heroes with neglectful or deceased parents, it was so refreshing to have the mother-son and brother-brother relationships placed front and center to remind readers of the power of family, both born and chosen. Major kudos to Ritter for making old fables and folklore seem original and fresh again in a market flooded with fairies and witches. All in all, Hats off to Ritter for this brilliant, brilliant series opener. I cannot wait to put this book in children’s hands. I’m eagerly awaiting more, more, more!