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Thursdays with the Crown: 09/19/15
Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George is the third Castle Glower book. Celie, Rolf, his girl friend Lilah, and her brother Lulath are transported with the castle to its homeland. They need to figure out where they are and how to get home. Celie also wants to understand what's wrong with her beloved castle.
There are three parts to this book: exploration, discovery of other people, the flight home. Celie and the others end up hearing two completely different stories about the castle and the land they've been sent to. The land itself provides yet another version.
Celie and the others need to piece together the truth from all the versions in order to find their way home. If they can't, they're likely to end up either prisoners or casualties.
While I normally love this type of story, I found the pacing lagging, especially at the beginning. The adventure and mystery is hindered by Lulath's dialect. Lulath and his sister are from a far away and their foreignness is emphasized through their goofy grammar and weird idioms. The problem is, Lulath actually has the most relevant experience to the situation they've now found themselves in. So we have to sit through page after page of his goofy pseudo-accent.
A little of these fake accents go a long way, especially in a novel where all of the characters are now foreigners in a land they've never seen. Why don't any of the people they meet on their adventure have an accent? Why is it just Lulath who talks weird? And why does he have to sound so much like Balki from Perfect Strangers?
I'm only taking one star off for the pacing and idiom problems because the rest of the novel is so strong. While the first two books were rather fluffy adventures about a magical castle and a baby griffon. This one takes the back story we've been given and explodes it open. It also poses a bunch of tough, uncomfortable questions. This book covers similar themes to the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series by Hiromu Arakawa. Gower is a kingdom built on a foundation of genocide — a real world, harsh reality detail, that I've never seen in a fantasy book aimed at elementary school aged readers.