I went into this book thinking I would enjoy it, and...I didn't. It had the elements of what I did like in a fantasy book: aspects of science fiction, smart characters, and a rich setting. However, there were a couple elements that just killed it for me.
First, the characters were very flat. I understand that it's a kid's book; however, kids need relatable characters and they just weren't there. They were dynamic, but I felt no attachment to them.
For another, the overarching theme to me was that science is cold and unfeeling, but religion is the key to defeating it because science can't teach love. Teaching large amounts of religion to kids bothers me a lot because I find it akin to child abuse, especially when it teaches something like phobia of science. Science is not cold and unfeeling in any capacity, and teaching that it is is why we have so many issues with people failing to understand science in this country. Also, as an atheist, it's very offensive to think that, because I don't believe in the existence of a deity, I'm unable to love or feel. That is another reason why we have so many problems with religious law being put into effect in the US.
All in all, I would not recommend this to anyone, and I wouldn't read this again. It's an awful piece of literature that I feel perpetuates negative stereotypes of secularists and scientists.