Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wednesdays in the Tower

Sure, Tuesdays in the Castle didn't necessarily need a sequel, but when you've got a good thing, why not expand on it?  That's exactly what Jessica Day George did here, although while the first book easily stands alone, Wednesdays in the Tower requires a follow-up.  

On her way to classes one Wednesday, Celcie discovers a stairway leading to a tower where she discovers a large egg.  She cares for the egg and hatches it by herself, and gets a big surprise when a griffin comes out!  It seems that the Castle is determined for her to keep this a secret, but she is able to enlist the help of her brother Bran and friend Pogue.  Meanwhile, the Castle is adding more and more rooms, some of them quite odd, so Bran calls on his wizard mentor for help, but gets Wizard Harkness, a secretive and strange man, instead.  Celcie is busy trying to contain Rufus, her griffin, while the family is trying to understand the Castle and everything comes to a boiling point when Wizard Harkness turns out to know more than he's willing to admit.  While Wednesdays is missing some of the frivolity of Tuesdays, it is still a delightful and fantastical book that many readers will greatly enjoy.  

Like any sequel, I was satisfied, but enjoyed the first book more.  In the first book, the Castle seemed more amusing and more alive, while in this book it was just reclaiming all of it's missing pieces, not rearranging itself to the delight and terror of its occupants.  The relationship between Rufus the griffin and Celcie further underscores that she is the real hero of these books, despite being the youngest, and a girl at that.  I do think that boys would enjoy this book, despite the female protagonist, although they will surely want a griffin when all is said and done.

One nagging point, and this comes up very often in children's literature:  Celcie was not allowed to tell her parents about the griffin.  I know this is a common theme meant to empower readers, but it is starting to make me think.  In so many books, children do not or cannot go to their parents or other adults for help, and is this the right message?  Although in this case you could argue that Celcie was receiving help from an ages old Castle, which is similar to an adult.  I think I might have found my discussion topic for tomorrow's post!

For a book that didn't need a sequel, a whole series is about to follow.  While I don't think this will be a runaway hit, it is fun and light and should easily attract readers with a little word of mouth.  As much as it pains me to say this, it would also make a great animated movie, which would mean merchandising, a soundtrack featuring Taylor Swift, and many other evils.  Never mind, this would be a terrible movie, just dreadful.  In fact don't read the book.  Unless you are a imaginative child or adult with no connections to Hollywood what-so-ever.

Happy Reading!

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