science fiction and fantasy book reviewsWednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George Children's fantasy book reviewsWednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George

The adventures of Princess Celie, who lives in a magical castle where rooms appear, shift around and disappear again, continue in Wednesdays in the Tower, Jessica Day George’s lively sequel to Tuesdays at the Castle. Normally Castle Glower only moves its rooms around on Tuesdays, but one Wednesday Celie, heading up the stairs to go to the schoolroom for lessons, finds herself in a passageway leading to a tower room she has never seen before. And in the middle of the tower room is a huge, flame-colored egg, as large and orange as a pumpkin.

Mysteriously, the castle prevents Celie from sharing her exciting discovery with anyone else in her family: the tower room disappears when she tries to show it to others, and interrupts her attempts to tell about the egg. Why is the castle hiding the egg from everyone except Celie?

When the egg hatches, Celie has her hands full, feeding and mothering a ravenous baby griffin ― an animal that everyone in the kingdom thinks is only a myth. As the griffin grows older and much larger, Castle Glower gradually allows Celie to share her new friend with a few others. But the castle is behaving very oddly in other ways as well: new rooms appear that the royal family has never seen before, doors get blocked off for reasons known only to the castle, and the entire castle is getting much larger and more dangerous. Could this have anything to do with the appearance of the griffin egg?

Wednesdays in the Tower is a good, solid follow-up to Tuesdays at the Castle, almost certain to please young readers who enjoyed the first book, and likely their parents as well. Celie is an empathetic, adventurous girl with a charming personality. The scenes with Celie caring for the baby griffin, and later learning to ride on its back as it flies around, are a lot of fun, particularly for readers who like animal stories. Some parents might be a little perturbed at the idea of a twelve-year-old daughter keeping a huge secret from her parents (“The castle didn’t let me tell anyone!” may or may not be viewed as a sufficient excuse), but I suspect young readers will greet the idea with glee.

The mystery of the castle’s odd behavior is not as compelling as the griffin plotline, and might be a little complicated for the youngest readers (or listeners), but it fits in well with the overall plot. An antagonistic wizard arrives to try to resolve the problem, pursuing his own unknown agenda. Celie and her siblings don’t trust him, but it’s not clear whether he’s actually a villain, which adds some interest to that part of the plot.

Wednesdays in the Tower ends on a major cliffhanger; essentially it’s only the first half of a two-volume story. So I strongly recommend that readers have the next book in the series ready to start as soon as you are finished with this one. I ran down to the library immediately after finishing this to pick up the next book, Thursdays with the Crown, which is a wonderful, fantastical adventure that may be my favorite book in this series yet.

Published in 2013. A castle that is constantly rearranging itself, and a young royal family sworn to protect it… Celie, Rolf, and their beloved Castle Glower are back in this exciting sequel. When her brother Rolf dares her to catch magical Castle Glower creating a new room, Princess Celie takes the challenge! No one knows the Castle better than she does. But as usual, the Castle has ideas of its own.Celie finds the new room first, and inside it is hidden a giant egg. It looks like The Castle wants Celie to care for the egg and whatever creature it hatches! Celie hadn’t bargained for a pet, and caring for this one will prove to be especially tricky, once Celie and her siblings realize what else the Castle is hiding….

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  • Tadiana Jones

    TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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