Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #169: Wednesdays at the Tower by Jessica Day George

Wednesdays at the TowerIn Wednesdays at the Tower, the castle’s origins are explained. Personally, I preferred not knowing the story behind the castle. You know, since as I said in my last review, that air of mystery, of being partially lost in translation, was the one and only appeal Tuesdays at the Castle had for me.

As far as I’m concerned, George could’ve held off on telling readers what made the castle what it is at least until a third book. Then again, perhaps all she wanted was an excuse to throw a cute, crowd-pleasing baby griffin in there, to deny Celie the help of others, with few exceptions, in raising him, thus making what would probably have been a smooth upbringing otherwise and making it stress filled.

The castle wants Celie to keep this griffin to herself… and a few select others. Anyone else it shuts out, and I mean that literally; Celie even thinks of telling her parents and doors don’t just close, they disappear. What could be the explanation?

Hm, griffins are all around Castle Glower. Do you think it could have something to do with its past? No, don’t speak such poppycock. It can’t be that simple. Nope, wait, it is. Through this griffin appearing (seemingly) at random, all your questions are answered. I say “your questions,” since there are a couple I had that George’ll probably leave unanswered. Put simply, I’d like the backstory to the backstory, but I doubt it’s forthcoming.

Which is most likely for the best; I wouldn’t want to go against my better judgment once more and read another book in this series, and I know I would if there were a third. So, in a way, I’m glad George (presumably) ended it here in the second book. She got the letdown out of the way before anticipation had built my hopes for the resolution up very high at all. Thanks to that, these two books of hers will be some of this year’s forgettable footnotes, rather than stand-out disappointments like, say, You Suck and Bite Me by Christopher Moore, which took a promising introduction in Bloodsucking Fiends and pile-drived it, leaving it so thoroughly concussed that it, and Moore apparently, no longer knew what it was. So, yeah, I’m thankful that George at least managed to inadvertently avoid that.

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Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #168: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Tuesdays-at-the-Castle-by-Jessica-Day-GeorgeA castle with a life, and mind, of its own? Sign me up, I said. Having completed it, I can now say that basically all Tuesdays at the Castle had (of note) was that one good idea. George, it seems, couldn’t quite come up with a story to match the creativity of the idea at its core.

It’s been weeks since I read it, and the ever-changing castle and the oddly human motivations behind those changes are all that have continued to stick with me all this time later. It, I feel, was the only character of particular interest.

Besides it, there’s Princess Celie, dumbly soldiering on with a map of a castle that’s adding and removing rooms daily, King and Queen Glower, absent (and presumed dead) for most of the book, and Celie’s two brothers, one presumed dead along with his parents and the other forced to assume the throne before his parents have even been confirmed dead.

Nobody else made much of an impression on me. I remember there was a foreigner who tries to use the King and Queen’s absence as an in to the throne; however, the deck is always too stacked against him, the castle coming to the Glowers aid at every pivotal moment, that I never saw him as a threat in the least.

All that kept me reading, then, was the unpredictability of the castle itself. Yes, it helped serve the powers of good, working to help them keep those powers, as I mentioned above, except it didn’t often do so in the most straightforward fashion. There was a language barrier between the castle and its residents, if you will, and it was up to Celie and her brother to figure out the castle’s true intents.

Since, initially, when it could probably have spit this foreigner right back out, quite literally, it appears to hold its ground and show no signs of disapproval. It takes a while before Celie is able to see that the tower is in their favor after all, and that there is hope for her parents (and brother) still.

Not that I was surprised to hear her parents maybe weren’t suddenly murdered; that seemed a smidge too dark for George’s intended age group. I just enjoyed puzzling out the castle’s seemingly roundabout ways along with Celie. Enough, in fact, to continue on to the sequel, Wednesdays in the Tower, hoping George could build a worthwhile story around that castle of hers on her second try. In all honesty, I should’ve just kept to Tuesdays at the Castle.