This is my introduction to John Bellairs. I'm going to read his more well-known gothic horror stuff next.
,,,but first, wizards!
There is something ineffably '60s about this book, but in a light and fun way. Some passages are downright funny and remind me of Hitchhiker's guide.
Bellairs does a good job of writing emotion. He doesn't explain the mechanics of the world, or how spells work, or even really describe a scene, so much as the associated emotions.
This book was full of fear and dread, and I can see why he is known as a horror writer. Every time night fell, I was dreading what would happen next to our plucky heroes. They tended to stumble through their adventures and come out alright, although they never seemed to know what they were doing until it was over.
Anyway, it's an enjoyable read. I can see readers getting frustrated over the lack of detail or consistency in the magical world, but I think it's super fun and would highly recommend it.