I liked Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey, so I got two more books from that series from the library: The Fairy Godmother and One Good Knight. They did not impress me. Neither the characters nor the plot seemed particularly rich. The "surprise" twists were no surprise at all. I don't like to read about characters stupider than I am. If I can figure out what is going on, they should be able to figure it out too. I wondered, maybe the reason these books are so simplistic is because they are meant for a younger audience.
Then I read Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge. That's meant for younger readers too, but it is hardly simplistic. It is rich with words, rich with ideas, rich with plot, and rich with characters.
The world it describes has something to say about our world. How many will see the connections? Will they think it's a wild fantasy, unrelated to the world we live in? In the world of the book, some things, some people, are made invisible. In our world, are the invisible things so invisible that even reading the book, people won't see that we too have invisible things?
In the book, the streets are cleaned in the dark of the night. In the light of the sun, no one sees the people who clean them. No one thinks about the people who clean them. In the same way, in our society, we don't know who grows, harvests, and transports our food. We don't know where our garbage goes after we put it on the curb. Some office buildings are cleaned at night, unseen by the executives who work in those offices in the daytime.
In the book, people who wear a certain type of identification badge are ignored and mistrusted. In the same way, in our society, we ignore and mistrust certain people based on race, religion, class, and occupation.