I liked this book although not as much as I liked the previous one in the series – Tuesdays at the Castle. Here, the tale of Princess Celie and her family continues. They live in a Castle with a personality, a magical Castle which occasionally adds rooms, removes hallways, installs new towers and reroutes corridors without consulting or even informing its human denizens.
This time, the Castle is on a mission of profound change, and Celie, the Castle’s most beloved member of the royal family, is once again the heroine. She finds a griffin’s egg in one of the newest towers. In fact, the tower is so new that nobody could see it but Celie. Obviously, the Castle is very protective of its little griffin and it wants Celie to hatch and raise it… without telling anyone, especially not her parents or a visiting wizard.
A brooding, slightly sinister personage, that wizard, and Celie doesn’t like him from the beginning. So the griffin becomes their secret – Celie’s and the Castle’s. Keeping such a secret is not very hard to do: nobody believes in griffins anyway. They are a myth, right? That griffins are depicted on the kingdom’s coat of arms doesn’t mean a fig. Nobody has ever seen them in nature. Of course, as soon as it hatches, Celie does, the first person in several hundred years, and she instantly falls in love with her little (not really) protege.
The story starts slowly. In fact, despite the griffin escapade, I was getting bored and wanted to abandon the book until about 40% in. I started and stopped, then continued and stopped again. But I remembered the delight of the first book in the series and kept on reading. I was rewarded for my persistence. The tempo picked up eventually, and I read the rest of this short novel in one sitting.
As with the previous book, the author’s characters are alive and diverse, but she lavishes most of her attention on Celie – a charming protagonist, courageous, compassionate and very smart, despite being the youngest. Her family cherishes her. The griffin considers her his mother. And the readers adore her.
The book would’ve been better if it didn’t end in a cliffhanger. It feels like I only read the first half of the story, and then it was arbitrary cut off at the point where the real adventure starts. Maybe that’s why it was so slow to start, because the entire book is just the first act, setting the stage for what will happen next.
Now, I must read the next book.