by Jessica Day George
Bloomsbury, New York, 2013. 229 pages.
I’m a huge fan of Tuesdays at the Castle, so when I saw a sequel was coming out, I didn’t wait for the library to get a copy, but ordered my own copy. And I used that purchase as an excuse to enjoy rereading Tuesdays at the Castle first. In a way, I’m sorry I did. Although I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Tuesdays again, there were some logical inconsistencies between the books that I might not have noticed if the first book weren’t fresh in my mind.
Let me say right from the beginning that the second book is not a complete story in itself. Not at all. The book ends with half the story not told. Tuesdays at the Castle was a complete and satisfying story that didn’t cry out for a sequel. Wednesdays in the Tower doesn’t need a sequel — it needs the other half of the story. So in a way, I feel like it’s not quite fair to review it when the story isn’t complete. But the book came out without the story complete, so I am going to go ahead.
Now, there are still wonderful things about this book. I love the family that lives in Glower Castle. Princess Celie’s a delight, and she still knows the castle better than anyone. In Wednesdays in the Tower, Celie discovers a tower that she’s never seen before (yes, it happens on a Wednesday), and in the tower is a large, orange, burning hot egg. When the egg hatches, Celie witnesses the birth of a griffin.
The castle doesn’t let anyone but Celie find out about the griffin, and makes it very clear she’s not to tell anyone, by slamming doors if she even thinks about telling her parents. So she has to try to raise a griffin on her own.
This is never explained at all. The castle does let two other people find out about it. Why those two? And later, further into the book, suddenly the castle lets everyone find out. Why then? It’s not made clear. Maybe later in the story it will be?
But a bigger inconsistency is in Castle Glower itself. In the first book, we had a portrait of a castle that changes shape, adding or taking away rooms, if it gets bored, usually on Tuesdays. These changes included making the rooms of the ambassador it didn’t like much smaller and more uncomfortable, and the rooms of the ambassador it did like much larger and nicer. That doesn’t seem to fit well with what we’re told about the castle in this book. Now we learn that the castle exists in two places and is bringing rooms from its other location. So how would it then change their shape? To me, it doesn’t quite fit.
And why is Lulath still here? I love Lulath. He’s a fun character. But didn’t he come for the king and queen’s funeral? Why is he still there? And why isn’t he getting any better at using the language if he’s been hanging around for months?
And what’s with the wizard? I can’t figure out — even by the end of the book — if he’s good or bad. And his motivation for suddenly telling everything but keeping back one thing (I’m trying to be vague here to not give anything away.) — well, it left me pretty confused.
However, a baby griffin? Totally fun. Celie and her family back? Delightful. Castle Glower showing Celie a griffin egg? That I can believe.
And will I want to read the next book? Absolutely. I have to find out how the story ends. And I admit I want to spend more time with Celie and her family and the griffin.
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/wednesdays_in_the_tower.html
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