The world building was shoddy and confusing and the writing was clunky. Plus I couldn't ever get a good grip on the history of Story, in one part things were referenced as having taken place such a long time ago, and in another part they were a part of living people's memories. To me, that means the author herself didn't really have a good grip on the back story. Ironic because back story is an important part of the novel. I appreciated some of the messages the author was getting across with her two by four, but I didn't appreciate the two by four. I wasn't fond of the characters and for all that part of the author's message was that people are a mix of good and bad, the black hats wore awfully black hats. I like mid-grade novels. This was not a good mid-grade novel.