Had this story not held up to the fond memories I have of reading it the year it came out, I think I would still cling to it because it represented a major shift in how I think about literature at the time. It was the first time - long before I read about it or heard about it in lit analysis course - I realized that I considered book characters to be default white - that is, white until told otherwise. When the skin of the three detectives was described, I realized it wasn't how I'd been picturing them. And in realizing that, my younger self thought about how weird and wrong it was that I would not only assume that of a book set in an African country, but of any book whatsoever. It was en educational moment I am thankful for.Luckily, it still holds up pretty well. I give it 3.5 overall, but I enjoyed it to the level of a 4, especially when taking into consideration the age group it was written for. The action keeps moving pretty well, while clinging strongly to the themes of the book - of understanding, of identity, of trying to let different aspects of your culture live in harmony within you and finding the parts you want to allow to shape you the most. Its about strength and responsibility and the many different shapes it can come in. and it's a GOOD book.There are some clear problems in this book as well, easier to see as an adult. The plot tends to get a little repetitive in the middle, and while a lot of the characters are well-rounded, the detectives suffer a little from limited characterization. Eye especially seems to sort of drift into the background, whereas you do get some feel for Arm through his leadership and Ear through his humor.I definitely suggest this book for anyone - its a worthwhile read.