I started this believing that it was a stand-alone. It is most assuredly not.
The copy I first read was misprinted and missing the last twenty pages or so. A few months later I was able to read the ending, but it made for a disjointed reading experience.
The story is vaguely steampunk, set in a magical England in which the Fey have returned but are trapped in our world. One young boy's sister has been taken to be used as a conduit to open the gates between the two worlds. He goes to rescue his sister and thus encounters the best character in the book. A middle-aged, married minor politician, devoted to his wife, with little to no social or political ambitions and no desire for heroics. All in all, he would much rather not
put himself out to have to deal with things but he chooses to take it upon himself to stop this madness when he chances to overhear a plot concerning murdered halfling children. Again, he really does not want to get involved and no one else seems to care a tuppence. They are nothing but halflings.
So, I loved this reluctant, somewhat lazy, definitely unheroic man who shines as he keeps on trying, against his own demons, to keep helping!
I was saddened that it was a series, as it was not noticeably marketed as one and I was indeed expecting a stand-alone. Still, I will be picking up the next book to see what happens next.