Unfortunately, the very promising beginning did not finish satisfactorily for me, I guess it probably had a lot to do with the characters' developments, especially Juliana's. I felt she was portrayed too naive, and too weak for my taste; With a young lady, even though she was only 18, but with her worldly experience one would expect her to possess some street smarts; and by taking care of her father all those years, she should have shown some fighting spirits; but they were so inconsistently behaved and really made me wonder if she was unintelligent or just a bad writing. The inconsistency of characters became very troublesome for me towards the end when Juliana's mother threatened Capt. Davenport to rape her daughter, and capt.'s refusal, and later Herr Welcker's reappearance, and Reagent's appearance at the party, ..... there were so many things going on towards the end and were not fully explained really left me feeling baffled. But I did enjoy the beginning and the balloon ride a lot. I very much enjoyed Ms. Aiken's other works though.