I read this right after [b:The Dark Lord of Derkholm|47587|The Dark Lord of Derkholm (Derkholm, #1)|Diana Wynne Jones|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1355961884s/47587.jpg|869986] which is the first in the series and I liked it a whole lot better. But here's the thing: I think I mostly liked it better because some of the characters were already familiar from the first time round. Otherwise, I think it suffers from the same problem as the first book in the series, in that it tries to cover too big a world in too small a space. There just isn't time to develop the characters as well as I would like.
Having said that, I can't imagine reading a Diana Wynne Jones book and not liking it at all. I just don't like it nearly as much as those of her books I like best.