I was so disappointed by this book. I loved the first one so much that it was in my top 5 of 2005. I've been waiting for this one since, and I am so sorry to say that it doesn't even come close to measuring up to the first one. The plot is muddy and sprawling, the parrots annoying, the grownups stupid, the denouement unclear. The bits inserted to teach the young'uns historical facts are like little unblended pieces of hard sugar in your cake. It struck me as a novel which had several directions from which to choose, but which did not choose, rather sailed off in all directions at once.