BOOK REVIEWS

Tuesdays at the Castle Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-03-21 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 263 user ratings
ISBN:1681192187
LANGUAGE:English

"I absolutely loved this book! Maybe it's a bit Juvenile for a young adult, but I don't care. It is now up there with some of my childhood favorites like Peter Pan and Ella Enchanted. This book was a fantasy and was packed full of fun and adventure. It was clean too! No dragons, no witches... Just some brief scenes with some wizards and a magic castle that changes on a weekly basis.

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Celie is a princess of Castle Glower. She, along with her older brother Rolf, and older sister Lilah, fights to keep the kingdom afloat after her parents and older brother, Bran, are pronounced dead. Guests flock to the castle to attend the royal funeral and as many of them remain afterward for several weeks, the children are left wondering whom of their guests is trustworthy. With a Regent forced on Rolf (who is crowned king) and the kingdom in danger of being ruled by an enemy, the royal children have their hands full. Can they regain power over the kingdom? Are their parents truly dead? And what happens when they no longer have the castle to help them?

What I loved...

I'd sing praises of this book all day long probably so, I'll keep it brief.

I loved the royal children almost equally. The adventures that came up while they navigated an ever changing castle were intriguing and filled with drama. (I liked Celie a little better but only because she was the main character. Rolf and Lilah [her older siblings] were just as fun to read about though.)

Pogue and Lulath - Wonderfully written secondary Characters. Loved them!

As I said above, this book was nice and clean. No cussing, no major romance... just the right balance of fantasy and fun.

What I didn't like...

There wasn't really a whole lot that I didn't like. I wasn't particularly fond of an event near the end. It felt a bit out of place. Just to specify, A stuffed animal that Celie has had since childhood is transformed by the castle and turned into a griffin which then saved her from the bad guys by carrying them off and disappearing. I just didn't like this move by the writer. Up to that point, the castle had only used it's magic to add rooms/make them disappear and torment guests that it didn't like (to the degree of making windows open in their rooms when it rained) so when it turned Celie's stuffed animal into a magical creature, I just thought it was kind of stupid. I had expected the castle to break part of it's wall away, causing the evil lords to fall into the moat and be buried in rubble to the point where they died.

On that note, this part of the ending was pretty much the only thing I didn't like and it wasn't so annoying that I couldn't overlook it.

In the end, I give this book five stars and I'm putting it on my book wish-list. :)
" said.

"First of all, I want you to know that I just rubbed my hands together in delight, because I am so, so excited to review TUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE, by Jessica Day George! This is such a marvelous book, by such a marvelous author. Jessica’s books are always utterly gobble-worthy...but there’s just something extra-special about this first title in her new middle grade series. Maybe it’s the setting...

The Land of Sleyne sounds picturesque, with its mountains and bowl-shaped valleys, but it’s the castle that serves as the home for Sleyne’s king (Glower the Seventy-Ninth) and his family that thrills me. After all, what child (or young-hearted adult, for that matter) doesn’t long for secret passages and magic? The layout of Castle Glower is in a constant state of flux, so it’s like one gargantuan maze of secret passages, built through magic. Now that is my idea of a fantastic setting—a castle that can alter its form at will. And yes, I said at will, because Castle Glower has a will. The castle is a key character in TUESDAYS, and come to think of it, maybe it’s the array of characters that has me gushing over this book.

The castle is like a human in so many ways, even suffering from boredom! But unlike humans, who tend to eat potato chips and watch movies when bored, Castle Glower “stretches,” resulting in an added turret here, a room there, and sometimes even a whole new wing. This seems rather whimsical of the castle, but don’t be fooled. Castle Glower is not a character to be trifled with. Those who visit the castle had better mind their Ps and Qs, or they could end up like the Ambassador of Bendeswe, who found himself walled into his bedroom once the castle found out he was a spy.

Another character to love is Princess Celie, who is spunky, courageous, and smart. She also possesses an atlas of the changing castle, and it is for this reason, perhaps, that the castle pays special attention to Celie’s needs, even growing escape routes when she needs them, and boy, does she need them! This is a girl who attracts adventure, for sure. I can’t wait to read more about her in the other books in this series!

There are also lots of other wonderful characters in TUESDAYS, such as the handsome Pogue Parry, the odd-but-loveable Prince Lulath of Grath (and his doggies), the spine tinglingly evil Prince Khelsh of Vhervhine, and, of course, Celie’s family. I love the relationships between Celie and her siblings, in particular. Her older brother, Rolf, is the second son of the king and queen, but the castle “chose” him to be King Glower’s heir, by moving his suite of rooms next to the Throne Room. Celie’s older sister, Lilah, is capable and a bit bossy, but proves her worth many times over in TUESDAYS. Celie’s oldest brother, Bran, was sent to a college for wizards after the castle kept furnishing his rooms with books and astrolabes. It is, in fact, on the journey to witness Bran’s graduation that Celie’s parents (who sound like the best king and queen ever) are ambushed and...well, you’ll just have to read the book if you want to know what happens to them and to Celie and her siblings as a result.

I do love the setting and the characters in TUESDAYS, but there is so much more to love, too! Jessica’s writing is simple, but vivid. The story moves quickly—there is never a dull moment. There is so much to love, and every element of the book works with every other element, creating a tight adventure story that any reader will enjoy.
" said.

" I loved this book. It was charming and funny, a real delightful castle-y princess adventure. Reminded me of Ella Enchanted, but geared a little younger. " said.

" This book was really good!! A little hard to get into, but once I did, it was great. :) can't wait to read the others. " said.

"Disappointingly juvenile, this doesn't have a lot of adult appeal. Fair enough I guess, the main character is eleven. I feel like the reading age might be more like 7-8.

Instead of the fantasy adventure I was expecting, the royal children save the day by playing pranks on the bad guys, Home Alone in a medieval castle. No kidding: there is supposed to be a serious, dangerous assassination plot against their family going on and they decide to solve it by smearing poop on the perpetrator's shoes and damaging their robes.

The villain, Khelsh, is as flat as a board in his plot to take over the kingdom, and in an attempt to convey his poor English - sorry, Sleynth - he talks like Yoda: "The wizards must lying be... my best assassins did I send."

Did the great King Glower not notice that his entire council was so desperate to oust him that they'd rather see a previously unknown foreigner on the throne? Why do the council want Khelsh anyway? I know these things are not the point, and I'm supposed to focus on the story's best feature, the castle that thinks for itself, changing and creating rooms as it will and of course favouring main character Celie. The castle is a pretty great feature - who wouldn't want to live there? - but I guess it just wasn't quite enough for me this time.
" said.

"I love books with sentient buildings, and Castle Glower is a wonderful example. It adds, removes, and changes rooms, sometimes at a whim, other times for very good reasons - like imprisoning enemy spies, or making it obvious who it wants to be the next king. The Castle's preferences are why it's the King's second son that's the Crown Prince (the eldest is training to be a wizard instead). But its favourite is the youngest of the King's children, Princess Celie - who loves it in return, and knows the ways around it better than anyone else.

And this partnership of Celie and the Castle becomes crucial when the King, Queen and eldest son are set upon by bandits and the Crown Prince finds himself surrounded by a Council that doesn't seem to quite have his - or the Kingdom's - best interests at heart.

A lively story with engaging characters; I'm so glad it's the first of a series!
" said.

"Reminded me a lot of Half Magic - and I love that the castle is as much a character as the people!

---
4th grade booktalk
Ever wish you could change something about your house? That your house could read your mind and give you, in house or room form, whatever you need? For those of you who are Harry Potter-familiar, think the Room of Requirement. Well – Castle Glower, where Princess Celie and her Royal Family live, does just that. On Tuesdays, anyway.
For example: the castle once removed the doors to a guest’s room. The King was really angry about it – but then he learned that that particular guest was there to spy on him – so, handy the castle knew, eh? The castle also chooses the kings of the kingdom. So when King Glower and Queen Celina disappear on their way to a neighboring kingdom for a meeting, and the castle doesn’t redecorate their rooms, Celie knows they aren’t dead. If they were, the Castle would change the decoration in their rooms!
Unfortunately, everyone else seems to think that the king and queen are dead – so how can Celie convince them to send a search party? As long as the Castle seems to think her parents are alive, Celie will too… but how long will that be? And what really did happen to the King and Queen?
Read the first book in the Castle Glower series to find out…
" said.

"Originally posted at Small Review


Six reasons I loved Tuesdays at the Castle


1.Family

I thought Tuesdays at the Castle was going to be all about Celie, and while Celie is the main focus (the third person narration has a focus on her), her older brother and sister are just as important.

I loved this! The interaction between the siblings was sweet and fun. I actually loved Celie's brother and sister so much that I would read the story all over again told from each of their perspectives.


2. Pogue

This is a MG book, so the romance is really, really minimal (like, only implied), but Pogue is where it's at and his devil-may-care, charming and flirty personality makes him a character to watch.

Maybe we could get a book told from Lilah's perspective so I can get more Pogue (Pogue has a little thing going on with Celie's older sister Lilah)? I could go for that!


3. A character who owns a pile of puppies 

Puppies! I'm firmly in the camp that believes puppies make everything better.


4. Celie

She gets a sleepover party invite! Celie is everything I want in a MC--she's inquisitive, determined, and she so gets the value of secret passageways.

And, yeah, maybe after watching the requisite scary movie at our sleepover party we'd both pull out our childhood stuffed animals that we told all our friends we got rid of ages ago but really we didn't. But that's ok because we both understand that sometimes nothing can offer comfort like that old stuffed animal friend.

Basically what I'm saying here is that Celie may be super awesome for standing up against some pretty rotten characters, but she's a real girl with courage AND fears and I could totally relate to her while also admiring her.

Plus, she's a princess, so there's automatic points for that.


5. Castle Glower

If I hadn't already been sold on reading Tuesdays at the Castle because this is a Jessica Day George book and I'll read anything she writes, that castle that magically adds new rooms and features would have cinched the deal.

Half the reason I read so many castle/mansion books is because I get to explore big houses! The idea of a castle that is constantly growing and changing and adding new cool secret passageways (can you tell I have a thing for secret passageways?) and magical objects is just so full of win that I think they need to invent a new level of awesome just for Castle Glower.

The fact that the castle is also effectively a character in its own right who loves the royal family just makes the whole thing explode with awesomeness even more. Do you rememeber Nana from Peter Pan? You know, the dog who watches over the children? Imagine if she was a castle and could create magical objects. Pretty neat, right?


6. Political intrigue

This is a MG book, but I think the political intrigue was still pretty entertaining. I really wished I could reach into the book and start slapping the bad guys. They cook up some nasty schemes, and I liked how new layers were peeled back, slowly exposing their duplicity.

Of course this is a MG book, so none of the bad guys got a (well deserved) actual skewering, but Jessica Day George gave me plenty of opportunities to laugh at their comeuppances.

And, while I knew everything would work out in the end (it's a Jessica Day George book--she never fails to give me the Happily Ever After I want), there were a bunch of times where I was so wrapped up in the characters' plights that I was practically plunged alongside them into the depths of despair wondering how in the world they were going to fix everything.


Stars off?

I'm kind of just a tensy little bit of an impatient reader (which is probably the biggest understatement of the year). So the slower beginning made me a little antsy. It wasn't like nothing was happening, but it felt like there was a lot of waiting around in the beginning.

Pogue also gets sent off on a quest-type mission and I'll admit that I pouted and may have even stomped my foot a little when I realized *I* wasn't tagging along.

Instead I was stuck in the castle (which, yeah, I know as far as consolation prizes go this one wasn't half bad. But, but, I missed out on a QUEST, with Pogue! It kinda felt like getting stuck at the kiddie table when all the grownups are discussing juicy secrets).


Bottom line

I am a fawning, pom-pom waving fangirl for Jessica Day George, and Tuesdays at the Castle just reminded me again why. Somehow she always manages to spin a cotton candy confection of fluffy happy goodness with a captivating plot, endearing characters, and seriously bad villains.

Lucky for me, Tuesdays at the Castle is just the beginning! There will be at least two more books about Celie and her magical castle (and her brother and sister? And Pogue? I hope!)

But, don't let that scare you off because Tuesdays at the Castle can totally be read as a standalone. In fact, if I hadn't read on Jessica Day George's blog that there would be sequels, I never would have thought there was more to come (but I am SO so looking forward to more!)

Originally posted at Small Review
" said.

April 2018 New Book:

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