Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Wednesdays in the Tower - Jessica Day George

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George
Series: Castle Glower #2
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy
Published on May 7, 2013
Published by Bloomsbury
Pages: 240
Read From: 5.24.13 - 5.24.13

Wednesday at Castle Glower is an ordinary, hum-drum sort of day. No new hallways, no extra turrets, no sudden changes. At least according to Princess Celie, who knows the Castle better than anyone. So Celie is surprised when, one Wednesday, she happens upon a new tower, with a new room, and a giant orange egg hidden inside. 

Celie doesn't know what to do, and neither does her brother, Bran, the new Royal Wizard. But the Castle knows. As staircases spring up and doorways disappear, the Castle's plan becomes clear: Celie is to care for the egg and whatever creature it hatches! Of course, she hadn't bargained for a pet, and this one will prove tricky, once Celie and her siblings realize what else the Castle is hiding. . . .


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? There are two character impersonators, but I actually don't mind it all that much. They are very fitting illustrations for a kids' book, and the griffin is just too adorable!

Characters: Ceclie is a plucky protagonist without being annoyingly optimistic. More importantly, she acts her age, and it's so rare to find female protagonists who behave like kids when that is exactly what they are. So many Authors seem to think that because they have a girl protagonist, no matter her age, she must automatically notice boys, and it was nice to have a young girl who was just a kid, looking for adventure and little else. Celie's brothers - Bran the Royal Wizard and Rolf the heir apparent - are equally delightful characters. Poor Bran is shouldering a world of responsibility, while Rolf still takes time to be a kid while learning to someday become king. And while Pogue isn't one of Celie's brothers, he certainly acts like one to Celie, which I loved. Prince Lulath's foppishness was absolutely hilarious, and I even found his accent funny rather than vexing. Probably not surprisingly, Rufus the griffin is as adorable as the cover art suggests; the only way he could have been cuter is if he talked, which sadly he doesn't. The villain of the story is rather obvious, but it took me a while to guess what his intentions were.

The Romance: There isn't any beyond Celie's sister Lilah occasionally flirting with Prince Lulath and Pogue.

Plot: Castle Glower is a living entity - and one that Celie has always been keenly attuned to. On Tuesdays, the Castle always creates new rooms, disappears others, or moves things around a bit. Sometimes this is helpful, and other times it's just downright confusing - but most of the time the Castle has always brought rooms that were useful, disappeared ones that were no longer being used, or moved things around to be more accommodating. But nothing exciting ever happens on the rest of the days of the week; only Tuesday. Until one Wednesday morning, when Celie is on her way to her tutoring lessons in the schoolroom. It's always been at the very top of the tall spiral staircase, but not this time. Instead, Celie finds a mysterious new tower, in which sits a large orange egg, extremely hot to the touch. Celie doesn't understand why the Castle has brought this egg, or why it did it on Wednesday, of all days. And more importantly, it seems that the Castle doesn't want anyone else to know about it - just Celie. That becomes very apparent whenever Celie tries to show her family the new tower, and when the egg hatches to reveal a baby griffin - creatures once thought to be pure myth - the Castle keeps Celie from telling anyone beyond her brother Bran and Pogue about it. But what's Celie supposed to do with a baby griffin? And why does the Castle keep adding new rooms on days other than Tuesday? Celie knows something is wrong, and as she delves into the history of griffins - creatures that seemed to have once existed as part of the Castle - she learns more about the Castle's ancient history itself. And what she discovers is worrying: something is threatening it. Between this hidden danger and the ever-growing griffin that is getting harder and harder to hide, Celie is about at her wit's end! Like with Tuesdays in the Castle, its sequel is a charming and engaging plot that a lot of adults will enjoy right along with their kids. The Author presents pieces of the puzzle in an order that keeps the Reader from guessing the plot twist too quickly so we don't get impatient with the characters. The world of Castle Glower continues to be an enthralling and fun place to explore, and delving into the history of the Castle itself just makes things all that more interesting. A relatively short book, Wednesdays in the Tower never once slows down, not even when we take a break from the strange happenings in the Castle and go for a midnight flight with Celie and her griffin Rufus.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense; I have no complaints about the narration. This story has the Author's usual trademark humor, drama, and light-hearted adventure. Her writing lacks the same beauty as her Princess of books, but this is intended for a younger audience. However, it doesn't feel like she's writing down to them.

Content: None.

Conclusion: With the arrival of Wizard Arkwright, the mystery of the Castle's strange behavior deepens. The climax offers some surprising revelations about the Castle and its origins, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the end is one killer of a cliffhanger! I was totally not expecting it to end the way it did, and all I can say is: I want the sequel now! Wednesdays in the Tower delivered in every respect, and in many ways I liked it more than Tuesdays at the Castle. I can't wait to see what the third book offers - what are Thursdays like at Castle Glower?

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, nine to thirteen-year-olds (and adults who love kids' books, like me!), great for fans of Jessica Day George's Dragon Slippers series.

Others in the Castle Glower Series:
1)Tuesdays at the Castle
2)Wednesdays in the Tower

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