I didn't like the first hundred or so pages that much. I felt like it needed massaging. It seemed like the first book in a harry potter-like series, they were trying to set too much up. There was too much dialog, not enough action. And every once in a while it felt like DL was introducing an item just to move the plot along.
The book opens with the death of 12-year-old Stephanie's uncle. At the funeral and then the reading of the will, Stephanie sees the title character. She's left pretty much everything in the will, except for a car, a boat, a vacation home, and some ugly jewellery. She decides to stay in her new mansion overnight, and that's when the bad things start to happen.
Eventually things improved. The characters stopped talking quite so much and started doing things. They bought clothes and rode around in cars, got horrible injuries just like adults in thrillers and kept going anyway in order to save the world. They did magic and created alliances and got double-crossed. Stuff turned out to have been important that was mentioned in passing in the beginning. I quite liked the end, though. It tied everything up while leaving plenty of room for sequels.
The author's bio was excellent, too. He teaches karate to kids in order to build his own munchkin army. Hey, I want to do that!
Unfortunately, as I read I realized I was planning future fashion purchases on this 12-year-old heroine, and that may be kind of lame. I may need a fashion intervention. But, since I rarely buy anything because I can't seem to throw anything away, maybe I won't wind up dressing like her.