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There May Be a Castle Hardcover – 6 Oct 2016
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Piers Torday is the new master of books for children who like magic and modernity with their lust for adventure ... Torday understands the lot of the younger sibling, the power of the imagination to heal and the strong, irregular rhythms of grief (The Times)
Heartbreaking, surprising, uplifting - Mouse's snowbound journey is one you'll remember for a long, long time. There May Be a Castle proves that stories matter. They really do (The Bookbag)
Piers Torday continues to demonstrate that he is one of the best writers for children working today (The Guardian)
Original, ingenious and bold ... I am still reeling. (The Sunday Times)
Brimming with humour and excitement ... beautifully described and the tension never breaks (Philip Womack Scoop)
Heart-warming and heart-wrenching ... another fantastic tale from Piers Torday and one not to miss. (Carousel)
An outstanding book and a future classic (School Librarian)
Mesmerising and overwhelming with emotion. (Booktrust)
Full marks ... for a story not afraid to take on some of the fundamentals of life while still managing to preserve the lightest of touches (Books For Keeps)
If you were to dislike this book, I would not be your friend! (Omer (aged 11))
An astounding, unforgettable winter's tale from the award-winning, bestselling Piers TordaySee all Product description
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When Mouse’s father runs off to Florida with a software developer, called Carla, he is off to spend Christmas with his grandparents. He hates Christmas (another trait we share) and is not really looking forward to the long drive with his mother and sisters. However, things go really wrong when there is an accident on the way there and Mouse finds himself with a sheep called ‘Bar,’ who can’t talk (except for ‘Baa’ obviously), his now much larger horse, Nonky, who can talk, a robotic dinosaur, a knight dressed in pink and a minstrel.
Like most really good fiction, this is a book which works on many levels. For younger children, this is an exciting adventure, where Mouse sets off to save his family. Those older may see the ending coming and that is certainly a brave one for the author to write, but it works. A moving, special novel about the importance of family and of the lengths you will go for those you love.
There May Be A Castle is written by the amazing author Piers Torday (The Last Wild and The Dark Wild). The book is about a 10-year-old boy called Mouse, who is trying to battle The Pink Knight (a game on his iPad). On Christmas eve, his sisters a locked in a car. Will anyone bother? Will Mouse come back? If you were to dislike this book, I would not be your friend. After reading this review, you must want to buy it, mustn't you?
There were some things that I wasn't so keen on in this book. The ending felt like it flip-flopped a bit, first it was one thing then suddenly it was something else (I can't be more specific without spoilers), but not in a good "twist" way, more in a way that the author had a particular way they wanted to end the novel but wasn't quite sure how to get there. I also found that occasionally the writing swung between 8 - 12 year old, which is a massive difference really.
Despite that I would recommend this novel and am happy to stock it on my classroom bookshelf!
I really don't want to spoil this book, so I may be a little vague - if you need to know what happens, there is a 1 star review that gives away the end. And to be honest I read the end when I received the book, I needed to know if I could read it with my daughter and I chose not to (at the moment).
I can't remember the last time a book engaged me emotionally so quickly. I was torn between giving it 1 star because parts of it made me SO angry and 5 stars because it is so beautifully written. Should I compromise and give it 3? In the end I've settled on four because for a story to engender such a reaction means that it has touched you and I can't justify giving it 3 stars.
What I loved. The characters - they are individuals, but they also come across as a real family. The interactions in the first part of the book capture the family dynamic perfectly. The descriptions give the book such atmosphere, you are just pulled in to that world. (Though what on Earth was the mother thinking? Really?)
After the accident the book splits into two points of view (Mouse and Violet), partly signalled by change in font. I thought this worked very well. Violet is firmly embedded in the real world though relying on the imaginary "support" of Grainne O'Malley pirate queen to get her through this horrendous situation. Her 11-year old brother Mouse meanwhile is on a quest to get to the Castle, as an adult reading it you think - probably got concussion (at least) and slipping into hypothermia with accompanying hallucinations. But you lose sight of that when you're reading because it has such a fairy-tale, lyrical quality to it. (In a way it reminded me of the film Pan's Labyrinth).
What I didn't like (This is personal, lots of others have loved the story). It has a fairy tale style, and just like a fairy tale it did feel (looking at it intellectually, putting emotions to one side for a moment) that the characters were there just to serve the plot, that the end was already decided before the beginning had been written. If a book sucks you in, it manipulates you to feel a certain way, but you don't want that manipulation to be obvious, you don't want it to be that cynical. I think if you read the first chapters carefully, you are pretty much hit over the head with how it's going to end.
The ending. if you're reading it aloud to a child, I'd recommend you stop at the end of Chapter 42. (Check out the ending before you start reading). Personally if I'd been editing it, I would have ended it (if not at Chapter 42) at Chapter 43. The epilogue felt unnecessary. Tonally it's different, you're being told what's happening rather than experiencing it. It's like the bit at the end of the movie where they tell you what happened to everybody and I think it was unnecessary - though I would have kept the "Things that remained unexplained section".
I find it difficult to recommend because I think it's a book that lots of people will have a strong reaction to, but if we got rid of all the books that were difficult or challenging the world would be a much more boring place. Recommended.
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