This is a much less convoluted version of his usual novels. As befits a YA novel, since I find it difficult to keep all the parts together in any of his "for adults" novels (Way of Kings, anyone?).
I think he correctly grounds this novel in as close to present day as he can get. The more-real setting lets him more fully develop his main male character (not quite a teenager, a little older than that). The character's angsty issues include how he interacts with girls, how his spoken language (ie, metaphors) isn't quite up to snuff, his guilt over how he treated his father, etc. In other words, your normal young adult issues.
As an adult reading this, this was fine because he handled it pretty well. At times it seemed forced, like when they're on a high-speed chase through the steel-lined streets of Chicago and all our protagonist can think about is how he used a terrible metaphor in his last interaction with someone on his team. Um, I very much doubt that would be the case. But neither would an almost-teenager be so adept with guns and other bizarre warring technologies. (There's a LOT of warfare in this book. It doesn't pull punches.)
I enjoyed it enough to read the next one when it comes out this year. But I'll read the next Way of Kings first, you bet.