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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner

Castle of Shadows  is another one for the Once Upon a Time Challenge and is another YA novel.

The reviews are all very positive, but for some reason, I had difficulty feeling the same way.  When I can't think of much to say, I've been resorting to Product Descriptions and Reviews on Amazon.  So here goes another one:

 "No clue about why the Queen vanished had ever been found. Until now..." The day Charlie discovers a scrap of paper that could solve the dark mystery of her mother's disappearance, her world changes. Forever. Charlie and her friend, Toby, must race against time on a dangerous mission to uncover the sinister truth. But in this shadowy world of secrets and lies, there is more to fear than they can possibly imagine...
 Sometimes YA novels are suitable for everyone, regardless of age, and sometimes they are suitable only for a particular age group.  I would definitely place this in a "young reader" category.

I just wasn't deeply engaged by either characters or plot.  Most of the YA novels I've read lately fall into this category.  Maybe I should re-read some of the novels from my own childhood and see if they hold up to the memories I have of them.  Some novels enchanted me then, but would they have the same effect now?

Still, when I read Shannon Hale (i.e. The Goose Girl), Erin Hunter(Warrior series), Donna Jo Napoli (Zel), or Megan Whalen Turner (The Thief - Attolia series), I find myself deeply involved with both characters and plots. Even if the above books are written for a younger audience, they contain something that lasts beyond turning the final page.

I do think very young readers might be quite taken with this novel, and the sequel City of Thieves has also been released. Although it didn't offer me the feeling of delight that some YA novels do, every reader has preferences for a certain kind of book.

Other Reviews:  Bookhi, BookMonkeys,

Fiction.  YA Fantasy. 2010.  336 pages.


  1. How are you doing with your challenge? I still haven't even started one book!

    Anyway this sounds cute but I don't really get into YA books that are for the younger kids. I find them a bit more simple I guess.

  2. Iliana - I think I've read 4 so far; my favorite was Darling Jim. It is always difficult to tell about YA books, but this one was definitely for a younger audience.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about the book being right for younger readers but not engaging enough for the more mature reader. I felt that way about one of the books I read earlier this year -- one with a gorgeous tiger cover, but I can't recall the name. I've gone back and read a few childhood favorites, over the years. Some still work for me and some just perplex me -- as in, I can't figure out what on earth I loved about them as a child!

  4. Nancy - I remember my kids reading books that they loved, but I couldn't figure out why, as well. :) I'm almost afraid to shatter my memories of some of my own favorites as a child!