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*THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS
comes out May 27, 2014!*
Earlier this week,
visited THE BOOK RAT
for an awesome interview!
Check out my review of THE PRINCESS CURSE,
one of my favorite fairy tale middle grades!
Moment of Truth: THE PRINCESS CURSE is still my favorite book from Merrie Haskell so far. Granted, I still haven't read my copy of HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS (*hides*), so that may not always be a true statement. I didn't like THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS better than THE PRINCESS CURSE. TPC, however, twists together three of my all-time favorite tales, so that's pretty hard to beat. TCBT is pretty darn unique, too, though. I love Haskell's innovation and the endless scope of her imagination. Middle-grade readers who enjoy THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS should also check out fellow middle-grade Sleeping Beauty novel THE WIDE-AWAKE PRINCESS by E.D. Baker. It's absolutely adorable, and similar only in that both books deal with the same tale, and both completely reconstruct the tale to create something brand-new and fresh in the genre.
One day, Sand wakes up not knowing how he got into the forbidden castle. Everything has been sundered in two; every bucket, every tool, every everything. Somehow, food such as turnips are still good (albeit stale). It's as though everything froze in time during the sundering. Sand, who wants nothing more than to be a blacksmith, decides to fix as much as possible. If he doesn't know how he got into the castle, he surely doesn't know how to get out, either, especially with deadly thorns covering all exit points. When he accidentally brings Princess Perrotte back from the dead, he realizes that the magic loitering about is more powerful than he could have ever imagined...
It was so intriguing to see a Sleeping Beauty story that isn't Sleeping Beauty. The elements are there, but the story is original and unique. Plus, it's middle-grade, so romance is not the focus of this book (perhaps another reason TPC is my favorite!). The world-building was so intriguing. I wanted to know what happened to the Sundered Castle all those years ago that tore it--and everything lying within--into perfect halves.The mystery propelled me forward and piqued my interest. I also liked the unique use of magic, and the way that Sand and Perrotte must rely on one another to break the curse and take control of their destinies. These two don't sit around waiting to be saved. They're smart enough to figure out what needs to be done and work on accomplishing everything necessary. Plus, Princess Perrotte is incredibly smart. It's great to see a literary princess who embraces astronomy and natural sciences. We need more smart girls in fiction, especially for kids.
A lot of the story is internal, since it's just Sand and Perrotte alone in a castle with little exterior action for much of the novel, but the novelty of a Sundered Castle and the magic needed to repair it are enough to keep readers interested and curious to know what happens next. I continued to be delighted by Haskell's sentence phrasing, as well, and will gladly read another book by her in the future. (Hopefully she keeps on writing fantasy with fairy tale flair!)
Ready to check outTHE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS by Merrie Haskell?
Merrie has kindly offered up a prize pack of books, including an ARC of her latest release, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, and an ANNOTATED ARC of HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS! [Misty and I are both CRAZY JEALOUS of the winner of this, 'cause that is awesome.]
All FTF giveaways run until May 10th.
You must register on the Giveaway Registration Form during the event to be considered for any prizes in individual giveaways throughout the event.