The Girl Who Kept the Castle

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Jun. 2024. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063229419.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Faye Gardener was feeding kitchen scraps to the castle’s dragon when she was chosen to inform Wizard West that he died in his sleep and is now haunting the castle as a ghost. He is no longer able to renew the foundation spells that keep the castle Celurdur standing and needs to find an apprentice before the next full moon. West, a temperamental and self-absorbed man, decides to host a competition to choose his successor. Wizard West’s bumbling efforts to maintain his reputation as one of the kingdom’s four official wizards puts Celurdur and all of its inhabitants in grave danger. Not only is the semi-sentient castle beginning to collapse, but the evil Shadow Queen is stirring from her prison and sending her smoke rats to infiltrate Celurdur. Now, on top of her usual chores (such as gathering the cockatrice eggs and collecting moonfruit), Faye must try to save the only home she’s ever known from ruin. Faye is an endearing, plucky, and resourceful heroine. The story’s many characters show developing emotional depth at all the right times, and the descriptions of the kingdom’s magic are marvelous.
VERDICT An enchanting middle grade fantasy and excellent start to this adventurous duology.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing