I enjoyed Diana Wynne Jones' The Pinhoe Egg, but don't have any detailed comments on it. I liked that the adult characters were not guaranteed to be trustworthy, and I liked the way that characters' perceptions of each other changed throughout the book, as they learned more about each other. And I always like it when a girl gains power.
Kate Elliott's The Spirit Gate was a deep and satisfying read, as I've come to expect from her. I liked the complexity of her worldbuilding. Even the good guys had shades of gray, that made me want to read more about them. She made people being carried around by giant eagles seem realistic, and made the eagles individuals. She did not make the eagles at all cute, for which I was extremely grateful. I think one of the reasons it was so gripping was that I as a reader did not doubt she would kill off characters, so their safety was not assured. To find out who survived, I had to read on.
There was one white-skinned character who was considered an exotic oddity by all the other characters, and passed from hand to hand as a slave.
It looks as if she might have a role in the next book, as a creepy kind of guardian. Not sure if she'll be good or bad. Or grey.
Various point of view characters had terrible things happen to them. Some ended up reasonably happy. Some ended up changed. I was interested in all of them, even the ones I didn't particularly like.
I'm definitely up for reading the sequel.