My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.
I don't remember particularly enjoying this book the first time I read it and I didn't particularly enjoy it this time either. It has the strongest language of any of the Golden Mountain Chronicles that I can remember in terms of pure cursing. I'm sure others are worse for racial slurs, etc (there is one use of the term g***y in the book).
There might be some connections to the other books (mainly The Red Warrior with Craig's dad possibly?), but it felt really disconnected to the Young's story. But I was also confused at the start because Craig's mom is named Jeannie and Casey's mom is named Jeannie (they're different characters).
It's not a must-read of the series, but it does fill the space between Child of the Owl and Thief of Hearts.