Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
Thursdays with the Crown is the delightful concluding half of a two-part story begun in Wednesdays in the Tower, which is necessary to read first. Hence, this review will necessarily contain some spoilers for Wednesdays.
In this third installment in Jessica Day George’s middle grade CASTLE GLOWER series, Princess Celie, her brother Rolf, sister Lilah, and friends Pogue and Prince Lulath, have been magically transported by their capricious castle to an unfamiliar land where the castle was originally built, along with two towers of the castle and Celie’s griffin Rufus. After spending a cold night sleeping on the floor of one of the towers, the friends begin to explore the wild, forested land, trying to find the missing piece of a magical device called the Eye, which they believe will enable them to make the castle whole and return them back home.
The children run into wild griffins, the endangered descendants of the griffins that once protected this land. Less pleasantly, they also encounter not one, but two wizards, each of whom claims to be the rightful keeper of the castle. A poisonous lake whose slightest touch will give you a deathly plague, a few more griffin eggs and a dispute over who will be adopted by the newly hatched griffins, a wizardly feud, and the ongoing search for the missing piece of the Eye all add to the excitement of Thursdays with the Crown.
The main characters in this series have an appealing depth to their personalities, for a middle grade book. Celie is an engaging heroine with a deep love for her family, her castle and the griffins. She recognizes her fears but bravely chooses to face them head-on. She also has a slightly mischievous side to her character.
“Fitting that he got rid of it, the dishonest balagaha.”
“Don’t use such foul language,” the old man clucked. “It’s unbecoming to a young lady, and a princess besides!”
Celie mentally stored the word away for later use.
Lulath, a prince from a neighboring country who has been staying with Celie’s family, initially seemed foolish and excessively concerned with fashion, but gradually it becomes apparent that his funny way of speaking their language (a foreign tongue for Lulath) hides a sharp mind:
He nodded firmly. “It is why I am studying the strategying when I am young. I am having so much the fear in the night, I think, I will learn all that is brave and very, and will also go forth with strongness!”
“Lulath, that is the most astonishing thing you’ve ever said. You continue to surprise me.”
“I thank you, friend Pogue,” Lulath said cheerfully. “It is because I am looking such a silly man. I am liking the clothes too much, it is a thing I know. You are not thinking that I am having much brain.”
The magical griffins continue to enchant me, and the various mysteries ― Castle Glower’s origins, the reasons it has been behaving so erratically lately, the role of the quarrelsome wizards, and the history of the griffins and their connection to the castle ― all come together in the end to a satisfying conclusion.
Thursdays with the Crown is the second half of a story begun in Wednesdays in the Tower, which really is necessary to read first. In fact, this entire CASTLE GLOWER series should be read in order.
Castle Glower — (2011-2017) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Tuesday is Princess Celie’s favourite day. Castle Glower magically grows a new room, a turret or sometimes an entire wing! No one quite knows how, or why, but luckily, Princess Celie has mapped out the Castle’s many twists and turns. When the king and queen disappear and Councillors from neighbouring kingdoms arrive to advise Celie, a new tower and a secret passageway appear just as Celie needs them. The Castle is definitely trying to tell her something. But it’s down to Celie to find her parents, hold on to the kingdom and protect her home before it’s too late. This page-turning adventure marks the launch of a series sure to delight fans of Jessica Day George and win her countless new ones.
This series sounds completely charming.
It really is! If my daughter were in the 8-14 age range instead of 18, I’d be putting these books in her hands for certain. The main character, Celie, is intelligent and brave, but still struggles with feelings that normal tweens or young teens would.