Tuesdays at the Castle Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-01-14 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 263 user ratings

" I took almost 2 years on this one, but the fun was not diminished by the extensive amount of time. If you can still call it fun by the end of the story, life in the castle had turned into something of a nightmare for the Glower children! What a great story tho, with something for everyone and a pretty darn good ending. I just received Wednesdays in the Tower this week too, so that's up soon. " said.

" Even though I was older than the target demographic when I read this, I still LOVED it! Simple, clean, happy fantasy! Would make a great read aloud! " said.

"Whenever I read a book aimed at a young audience I have to pause and consider how I might have enjoyed it at the age for which it was written, especially if I see glimpses of a really good book in a might-have-been good.

This was one of those books. If I'd read it at age nine, I would have loved it to pieces. (Though I would have been convinced that the author stole my castle of appearing and disappearing rooms, but that, as they say, is another story.) The main thing is, at nine, I believed that adults were largely stupid. They spouted a lot of rules that they didn't obey themselves, they occupied themselves with the boringest of activities (smoking, card parties, sports, cocktails, politics) while disapproving of fun stuff (climbing fences, exploring on bikes, making up games that lasted days). So I would have been totally down with a book in which all the adults are profoundly stupid so that only the eleven year old can figure out what is going on, and make a plan to right the wrongs.

Also, at age nine, I knew little enough of physics to accept a kid who is as light as a foal being able to knock over two heavy guards in rushing past, etc.

The main idea of this book, the castle that chooses the kings of its valley, and takes care of good and bad people by imaginative means, is delightful. Celie's plans for routing the evil prince and the evil councillors (some of whom had the same soubriquet, Emissary, which confused me) were funny and imaginative. I loved how well the siblings got along, and that the teens respected Celie, though she was the youngest.

But adult me found the world building little better than a Hollywood backdrop, the king criminally ignorant (he really didn't know about the evil prince's relations at home?) and other related questions somewhat distracting. There was no sense of immediacy because everything was so conveniently altered according to whim, that I found it easy to put the book down to read something more gripping, even though it isn't very long.

So it goes in that pile that I will take back with me if a time machine is built, so that I can hand it off to my third grade self, who had read everything in the school library and was desperate for new books. I would have adored it unreservedly, because at age nine or ten I was the audience the author wrote for.
" said.

"I made the mistake of picking this up after midnight (not telling how far after midnight) to settle down a bit before bed. Four hours later (yes, I know, I'm actually kind of a slow reader—certainly compared to some) I finished the book with a sense of satisfaction that overrode the impending doom of waking in two hours to go to work.

This book is aimed at a bit younger audience than I usually read (middle grade?). I love YA novels and wouldn't dream of disparaging a book based on its target market, so don't take that as limiting or a condemnation. I note it as a way of highlighting how very well-written and engaging the book is. The protagonist, Celie, is 11 and the writing is about that grade level as well. I imagine that kids around that age, and a few years on either side, will find it a natural read. But the book is also completely accessible to older audiences, and even (if you're like me) captivating.

The central conceit of the novel, a magically sapient castle, is enchantingly drawn. Castle Glower, you see, chooses its own royalty. One royal council took a week of the butcher (I think. I don't have the book with me while writing this review) accidentally walking into their meetings before taking the hint and crowning him the next king. One heir found himself rejected because "he was a nincompoop." The current royal family—descendants of the former butcher—have come to truly love the castle and the youngest daughter, Celie, has developed a closer relationship to it than most. She has been working on her "atlas" for years and enjoys exploring new rooms and revising maps based on new additions and subtractions.

The book starts light (I laughed once per page, on average. I know because I kept track). We get to know Celie as her parents are leaving to attend the graduation of their oldest son in a city somewhat distant (the castle hinted he'd be a better wizard than heir so the second-oldest is heir). It doesn't take long, however, for dire events to catch up with Celie and her two siblings left home alone. I was so engaged in this part of the book that I only just now identify as a parent with similarly-aged kids who face danger while they're away from home. While reading, I was with the kids all the way and wanted to be with them as a peer rather than parental problem-solver. The Glower children, the oldest of whom left at home is 14, have to deal with diplomacy and tragedy and band together to fight off forces bent on taking over the kingdom using nothing but their wits, what they've learned from their parents, and what they know about the unique aspects of Castle Glower.

What follows is a ripping-good adventure story. And that, alone, would be enough to make this an excellent book. But Jessica Day George imbues the tale with additional wisdom, charm, and wit as the children try different tactics, work together, and learn to parse friend from foe. In the end, the story is about loyalty and love, teamwork and respect, betrayal and responsibility, and standing up to greed and malice even against forces that appear overwhelming.

I have no hesitation recommending this book to anybody who likes a good story. The characters are charming and that includes the castle. Rumor is that this is the first in a series and I fervently hope that is true.
" said.

"Beware – I’m sick and don’t have it altogether so this review might be a bit more fangirling than review.

When I first started this story I thought it was going to be a bit more zany and with more of a Christopher Healy vibe– after all, we have a castle that magically rearranges itself to order.

Boy, was I wrong. This book was whimsical, but definitely not wacky! And while there is a gentle, sophisticated humor throughout the book, the style is never zany. Beautifully and poignantly written – when I the reader first received news that the Queen and King were “dead” – I felt the blow as keenly as the characters, and quickly realized, like them, that I was deeply immersed in a delicate game of politics and a heartfelt story of a family pitted against the odds. Wonderful style and perfect plot!

AND CAN I JUST SCREAM FOREVER ABOUT THE CHARACTERS? Oh my goodness, the characters! Every single one of them was solid gold. I can’t remember a book off the top of my head where I loved every character. I especially loved Pogue and Lulath. #eeek And of course, Castle Glower itself is a character in and of itself – rather reminding me of the Enterprise of Star Trek the Original Series, when the inanimate ship had a kind of personality and heart.

It was also a treat to read a story about siblings that actually LIKE each other and work as a team – what a rare delight!

It’s just been a while since I read that magically captivated me like this book – I want to hug it, stroke it, and perhaps keep it under my pillow.

More shocking then that – I am actually going to buy a brand new, hardcover copy of this instead of buying a cheap copy because this is a book to treasure and admire forever.

When I closed this book, it was with a bit of an achy panic – how COULD the adventures of Castle Glower be over? And then I turned the page, and lo and behold, there was a sneak peak of book two! Oh joyous tidings! I instantly Googled it and realized there is an entire SERIES.

I’m coming for you.

" said.

"I need to mention I received this book from GoodReads giveaways.

Princess Celie is the youngest daughter of a royal couple who reside in Castle Glower. The latter is not a regular castle, but something which as Celie suspects possesses some intelligence. It is also grows by itself every Tuesday adding new rooms and making it very hard to navigate it (Hogwarts instantly comes to mind). Due to a series of seemingly unrelated unfortunate incidents, it is up to Celie and her slightly older siblings Rolf and Lilah to defend their castle and the kingdom from inside and outside threats.

It is a children book as and such it is an easy read. The writing style works very well for this genre. The three siblings I mentioned make good characters albeit not completely fleshed out, but once again it is a children book not a one with deep character study. I really like the castle itself, it felt mysterious and intriguing, but never gloomy or spooky.

On the other hand it looked to me like Lilah and Celia took somewhat passive resistance, but I do not see what else they could do considering their young age. At least Rolf was able to use some diplomacy and delay tactics to keep things from blowing up.

After everything said and done, it was an easy read worth 3.5 stars but unfortunately I do not feel it deserves a higher rating; I still have high hopes for the next books in the series.

This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one:
" said.

"I am a fan of Jessica Day George.  There is no denying that.  But most of what I've read by her has been more on the YA side than the middle grade side, so even though I was super excited for Tuesdays at the Castle, there was still the question of whether I would like her MG stuff.  I'm not sure why I was worried. It flowed along so well and kept me going.  Two sittings and I pretty much engulfed it all, continuously telling myself "I should stop after X, I should stop after Y..." and I just couldn't seem to do it.

Tuesdays at the Castle is absolutely darling.  I don't know how to make that not sound like a creepy old aunt who wants to pinch people's cheeks, but it's true, it was darling.  There is an...effervescence to George's characters that I just love, and Celie was no exception.  [I guess if I'm being honest, I kinda did want to pinch her cheeks...]  George has a talent for writing books that are wholesome without being boring or saccharine, and are just plain fun to boot.  Parents will find little that is objectionable in Tuesdays at the Castle - for the most part.  I mean, an assassination attempt on a 14 year old might be a little harder to explain to someone on the younger side of the scale, but generally it is very clean and handles delicate situations without being too adult or inappropriate, but ALSO without making light and taking away the tension.  And even though it will get the parent approval stamp, it's never in that way that it ends up being off-putting for kids (mom said I can read it and now I don't want to...).  It's a great adventure story with kids at the helm, and because of that, it is delightful.

I think so many kids are going to read this and root for the children of Castle Glower as they outsmart and one-up the scheming adults in the story.  I think this is one that will capture a lot of hearts and imaginations. The added fantastical element of the living Castle Glower and Celie's relationship with it lends a great magic to the story.  It feels so companionable, and the Castle really becomes a character of its own, and you care about it just as much as you do its inhabitants.  The relationship amongst the siblings was nice, too, with good dynamics and distinct personalities.  They each have their thing that sets them apart, and their take on the situation and what to do, and they work together and play off of each other nicely.  But it's the the relationship between Celie and the Castle that really stands out and sets the book apart.  It's such a fun fantastic take on a story, and to give a place such personality will really appeal to young readers (and old readers. and those in between).  It's just this great adventure story, without ever having left home.

I think what I like the most though is that even though it's a series, it makes a great stand-alone.  It's so rare to get any book that functions as a complete story in and of itself these dayss.  This is the beginning to a series (of course), but George understands the need for completion and she doesn't leave the reader hanging as so many do, or toss in some cliff-hanger or hook for the next book.  She (and her publishers, thank god) seem to realize that if you just do the book well people will read the rest.  No gimmick required.  It's so nice to get a self contained story where everything is wrapped up nicely, there is a beginning/middle/end, etc - a clear cut everything, settled and whole, that leaves you feeling as if it's complete.  I appreciate that, I really do, even if I do intend to read the next book (and I do).

This one hits stores in about 1 month, and if you're a teacher or have kids in this in-between age where they need something that will hold their attention without being too adult, this is definitely one for the to-get list.  :)
" said.

"Review also posted at Fantasy Literature.

Though I enjoy some YA fiction, I don't read many middle grade books at this point in my life unless my 12 year old really twists my arm. But the idea behind Tuesdays at the Castle just sounded so fun that I couldn't resist when I saw it on the library shelf. Its pages were waving to me, I swear!

Eleven year old Princess Celie and her royal family live in Castle Glower, which has a life and sometimes quirky opinions of its own and takes an interest in the affairs of the kingdom. Rooms and corridors appear and disappear, or move from one part of the castle to another, or grow or shrink depending on whether the person staying in the room is favored by the castle or not. Castle Glower also takes an active role in choosing the next ruler: the current king's 8x great-grandfather:

had become king when Glower the Sixty-ninth's only heir had turned out to be a nincompoop. Legend had it that the Castle had repeatedly steered the old king's barber to the throne room for days until the Royal Council had him declared the next king, while the young man who should have been Glower the Seventieth found himself head-down in a haystack after having been forcibly ejected from the Castle through the water closet.
The Castle also intervenes in love lives: Celie's father, the king, "married the beautiful daughter of the Royal Wizard when the Castle guided them into the same room and then sealed the doors for a day."


When the king and queen disappear on a trip and are presumed dead, Celie and her older brother and sister are left to hold the kingdom together, which becomes even more difficult when some neighboring princes--with their guards and entourages--come for the memorial service and won't leave, and the Council proves untrustworthy. Luckily the Castle is on their side!

Tuesdays at the Castle is charming and enjoyable, even for some older readers. It had enough tongue-in-cheek humor to make the story go down easily and it kept me interested to the end, though I really wish I could have read this when I was twelve. My 12 year old son gave it a big thumbs up.

Tuesdays at the Castle now has four sequels, so there's lots more fun and adventure with Celie and her beloved Castle for readers who enjoy this one. " said.

January 2018 New Book:

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