Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George was a tremendously fun book about an eccentric castle and the people who lived in it (see my review here). The sequel, Wednesdays in the Tower, is even better. In Tuesdays, Celie and her brother and sister had to deal with missing parents, conniving councilors, and a takeover attempt by a neighboring prince. They're aided by an eccentric, unpredictable castle who nudges them in the direction they need to go. In Wednesdays in the Tower, the family is back home, but there is now a strange wizard intent on researching the castle, and the castle has presented Celie with a baby gryphon that it wants her to hide from everyone else. The castle's behavior is even stranger than this, though, as it starts adding new rooms in a seemingly arbitrary fashion, puzzling and worrying the Glower family who, in addition to ruling by its grant, love their strange home.
I loved the castle in Tuesdays in the Castle. I think I love it even more now that it's being somewhat selfish, even putting its favorite people in danger. It makes it seem even more real and alive now that it is truly desperate and needs help and, since it cannot communicate clearly, is now being downright manipulative. Part of what makes this appealing rather than evil is that Celie still loves the castle. The other part is that we learn that the castle used to be more, and it's entirely possible that at some point in the past it really could communicate with its caretakers/people/friends so that its current, rather fractured and imperfect method is probably frustrating and worrying it at least as much as it does Celie and her family.
I was slightly disappointed that Lilah, Celie's older sister, got less page time in this book. Mostly, Celie is busy caring for a truly delightful young gryphon and working with her brothers, Rolf and Bran. Bran, Celie's older brother, was absent for most of Tuesdays in the Castle, and I'm pleased to say he makes a fine addition to the sibling group. He's just finished his training as a wizard and is balanced between being an adult and being the familiar older brother. Rolf and Celie are a great brother-sister pair, and Pogue, the blacksmith's son gets an expanded role.
The castle's unpredictable behavior makes Wednesday's in the Tower more of a page turner than Tuesdays in the Castle. While Tuesdays was delightful, and I wanted to see some more peaceful days with the castle, its care for the children meant things were probably not going to get too bad for them. Now, their ally has turned strange, and they are left more to their own devices in figuring things out. Their other opponent here has a more complicated motivation that helps keep matters unpredictable. All of this means that Wednesdays in the Tower is a sequel better than its predecessor and I'm definitely eager for the third book in the series.
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published May 7th 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's (first published May 1st 2013)
ISBN: 1599906457 (ISBN13: 9781599906454)