The Ring of Solomon, by Jonathan Stroud, emerged victorious in the School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids' Books, facing off against Kathi Appelt's Keeper and Megan Whalen Turner's Conspiracy of Kings. Richard Peck, the judge who found himself in the difficult position of having to chose the winner, described Ring thusly: "Think Old Testament Noel Coward." And explains his reasoning: "Because its very length and the wit of its diction are stinging retorts to both the grade-level textbook and Facebook. And because the fun is in how the tale is told, the yarn spun. Jonathan Stroud doesn’t control language; he unleashes it. The real magic here is in the turning phrase, and how much our texting young need that, and the liberation of laughter."
It was my pick too, much as I love MWT....It's rare to find a book so snarkily tasty, if you know what I mean. Here's my review.
(I bravely read my way through Stroud's trilogy about Bartimaeus' later adventures, but found them too heavy and depressing for my taste. But many people like them better than this one...)