I'm just really liking this series overall as an example of boundaries that can be crossed when it comes to children's literature. If I didn't know that I definitely liked this series after the first one, I most certainly know that I like it now.
Admittedly compared to the first one I'm not sure I like it quite as much? But that is mostly tied to the absence of Kara's home village. The thing that drew me into the first book initially was the twisted morality of the village and the Puritanical parallels that I personally drew, and so without that I was left a little wanting, but not that much.
I am just reveling in this intriguing obsession this series has with good and bad and it's really intricate and nuanced. Some of the monsters in this one are definitely just creepy especially Thickety's own village, which are the most skin-crawling zombie concepts I've ever read. I mean I suppose they aren't really zombies, but the mental image of the people and the shadows being flipped ohhhhh so creepy. And the life giving rocks - there's a lot of life-but-not-life in this book, come to think of it.
I wouldn't exactly be surprised if I saw this story under an adapted, "more adult" cover, but at the same time I'd say it's well placed in age. It challenges and begs to be challenged. There's so much in these books that are not clear cut, and I am really enjoying that. I can't recommend this series enough, it's just cool, man. Cool cool cool.