I can't remember exactly how I learned about this book, but I'm certainly glad I did. I'm always a sucker for an adventure story with a spunky, girl protagonist. Princess Celie is a gem.
The story is about the Glower children - Prince Rolf, Princess Lilah and Princess Celie. The Glower parents, the king and queen of Sleyne, are presumed dead along with their older brother, Bran, after they are ambushed by a group of assassins. Rolf, Lilah and Celie are devastated, but must carry on with the business of running a kingdom and a castle. And Castle Glower is no ordinary castle. It is alive. It magically creates new rooms, towers, and sometimes whole wings. It opens passageways with secret doors and often rearranges whole sections of itself. If it likes you, you will be rewarded by the castle, but if it dislikes you, then you can expect the castle to be very unkind. The castle favors Princess Celie most of all.
Prince Rolf is to take over as king, but he is only 14 years old. He and his sisters do not want to go through with a memorial and coronation until they are sure what has become of their parents and older brother. The councilors of the kingdom advise Rolf to go through with his coronation, but insist that they will advise him in his duties. It appears the councilors are in on a plot to help a neighboring prince take over the castle and the kingdom of Sleyne. The royal highnesses are determined to keep this from happening, and to keep Rolf safe from harm. Thankfully, they have the castle and many royal subjects to help them in their efforts.
Princess Celie saves the day in the end, protecting her big brother and her beloved castle. I found the book to be a charming tale of castles, magic and precociousness. There are plenty of chase scenes, ornery tricks and spying to keep any young reader happy. I only have one small complaint about the story. Throughout the book, Celie draws maps of the castle. Maps she intends to use (and does) to help guide people to safety/escape. These maps play a pretty major role in the plot. However, the castle is constantly changing. This is a major plot point as well. If the castle is always changing, maps would become obsolete? I wanted a better explanation of how the maps could help if the castle was constantly rearranging itself, or I wanted Celie to use something other than maps to guide her in her rescues.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Jessica Day George's beguiling MG book. I'll certainly be looking for other titles by this creative author.
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