I am a huge fan of Lloyd Alexander. I love how he seemlessly pulls together threads of mythology and foreign cultures to create brillant, vibrant new stories and worlds. They feel rich and alive.
It was great to see him give the same treatment to Middle Eastern mythology.
However, I will admit that, while still enjoyable, it is my least favorite of Alexander's work that I have read. I definately think he did a great job at evoking the flavor of the culture and the texture of these type of stories, but it dragged on way too long. In the middle of the story, it just slumped. It was too many stories and elements crammed together. I wished he would have streamlined it a bit more to pull the reader in. Instead, I found myself often thinking "Where is this going?" and "When are they getting back to the main story?". It felt like the story was drifting too much, and while it does all tie back together again at the end and make sense, I feel it could have been done a bit better.
Either way, it was a fun read and I think it's a great adventure story for young readers.