Most of Maguire's books have a strong undercurrent of bitterness and gloom to them; a dire bleakness that darkly underscores even the good things that might come to his characters. The sense of doom in Wicked, for example, was pretty pervasive (though I did and still do love that book). This tone isn't exactly absent here--the frame story literally takes place on a dark and stormy night, after all--but there's a lot of hope and optimism, too. Where I feel this story really succeeds is in making both the frame story and the story within-a-story compelling and in populating both with interesting characters. The frame story ties together with the one being told by the protagonist in a predictable but satisfying way (I don't think predictability is necessarily a bad thing, to be honest). The story ends on an uncertain note, but not in a frustrating way, and the read itself is smooth and entertaining. Maguire comments on his usual trope--the role of the individual in society and the consequences for breaking that role, particularly when the society in question is more than a little constricting and fascist--but I do think the tooth fairy society had a little more sympathy and nuance to it than the one portrayed in Maguire's version of the Emerald City. The tooth fairies are depicted as needing a strictly ordered life just in order to survive, that they don't have much choice except TO live how they do.