Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: Shadow Castle (Expanded ed.)

Author: Marian Cockrell

Title: Shadow Castle expanded ed.

Description (source): In the middle of a deep forest is an enchanted valley and a castle where only shadows live, shadows of kings and queens who have waited for hundreds of years for the spell cast upon them to be broken. One day, a girl named Lucy follows a little dog through a tunnel into the valley and meets the mysterious red-haired Michael, who takes her into the shadow world to meet Prince Mika and his mortal wife Gloria, their children and their children's children, and learn the magic that will lift the spell. This new expanded Author's Edition contains additional chapters never published before! (Amazon)

Review source: purchased

Plot: Some basic information: this was my favorite, favorite book when I was a child. I would read it at least once a year, sometimes more. I never knew anyone else who had even heard of the book or the author. As an adult, I’ve found that there’s a small group of us who love this book—apparently enough to produce a reissue, with two additional stories. So, the review is mostly about the two new stories, since it’s a given that the rest of the book is 5*.

Characters: One of the new stories is about Robin and Mika when Robin was a toddler. It gives a little more backstory to Robin’s interest in goblins, as he is abducted by them, and Mika has to go to the rescue.  The second new story is about a descendant of Meira and Julian, Princess Flame, and her recalcitrant genie, and a fire fairy we meet in the Robin/Mika story.  The first story is mostly action; the second is mostly romance, although the second story does introduce witches and genies, who have been absent from the book until now.

Writing style: There are some phrases in this book that are so familiar to me that when I read them, they just echo, because I’m repeating them as I read them. The new writing is similar, but of course, it’s new and not so well-known, so doesn’t have that same reverberation. Nonetheless, the new segments aren’t a let-down.

Audience: Me. Other than me, girls from the age of five on up (though the younger ones might have to have some help with the reading. If they can sound out Flumpdoria, they’re good). My son liked the book as well when he was a preteen, though he would never admit it.

Wrap-up: I think one reason I loved the book as a youngster was the beautiful illustrations. They are still there in this edition, for which I’m grateful. The pictures of Mika and Gloria at their wedding and Robin and Bluebell alone are worth the price of the book. I still have my old copy; now the new one sits next to it. 5/5*

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