by Jessica Day George
First sentence: “Whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two.”
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Eleven-year-old Princess Cecilia — Celie to her family and friends — loves living in Castle Glower. She’s made it her job to know all the nooks and crannies and shortcuts, from the long-established ones, to the ones that crop up periodically. See, Castle Glower is definitely magical, and may be alive: it has opinions about the residents there (the state of your rooms is a definite indicator of its opinion of you), and chooses the person who would be best to rule the castle. Everything is grand at Castle Glower.
That is, until the King and Queen leave to pick up their oldest son from the Wizard College, leaving Celie and her two older siblings — heir apparent Rolf, and sister Leliah — in the care of the castle. Unfortunately, the royals were attacked, and presumed dead. Suddenly, the council and neighboring countries are all over the Castle, supposedly “helping” Rolf take the throne. But the castle hasn’t changed the rooms; perhaps their parents aren’t dead after all? It’s a lot to take in, and that’s not even mentioning the creepy Vhervhish prince that is overstepping his boundaries. It’s up to Celie — and the castle — to stop what may have been a tragedy from becoming a calamity.
It’s a cute and clever little book; I think the premise is the strongest part of the book, though I really liked Celie as a character. Sure, the plot was a bit rushed, and I thought that maybe things wrapped up too tidily, especially since this is being hailed as a “start of a series.” But then, I’m not the target audience, and I’m sure that younger readers and fantasy lovers will really enjoy this one. (I’m planning on reading it to A as soon as we get done with our current reading.)