3.5 rounded up for good measureJoining the choir once again. I very much liked Bear's narrative voice - IF it said something that carried the story forward. Unfortunately, Bear's voice got stuck all too often in his inner musings and lengthy inner monologue, or picturing future events, or even rehashing past events that I, the reader, had gotten to witness as they happened or been told about before. I must admit I skipped those parts more often than not. The story in itself carried me along and pulled me in. The family theme was nicely done, even though sometimes emotional almost to the point of saccharine sentimentality - Bear's snarky self-mockery saved that for me. To my own surprise (see Simsala's review - she and I share some pet peeves ;-) ) I found myself loving this book despite its wordiness until - yes until one character said something that struck me as totally far-fetched and out of character, something that felt as if it happened purely in order to create some additional conflict. The Kid and Otter saved this situation, at least partway. Perhaps it'll be cleared up in the sequel, I don't know, but for now, I still feel let down. Another Mrs Paquinn fan here, btw. And I'm rooting for Anna and Creed!