Interesting Story with an Irritating Heroine
By Ellen Renner
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 15.99, 400 pages
Princess Charlotte, known as Charlie, spends her days wandering around the castle she lives in, hiding from her scary watcher, Mrs. O’Dair, and getting into trouble with various servants. With her mother missing and her father insane, Charlie is basically on her own with little care. Things change, however, when the Prime Minister, Alistair Windlass, takes an interest in her education and training. Initially pleased, Charlie soon realizes that the Prime Minister has disturbing plans in mind for both her and her kingdom.
Castle of Shadows is an interesting political drama for teens that are not afraid to examine the complexities of government conflict, secret plots and scheming politicians. The author deftly shows various factions scheming against each other for power or for good. Charlie’s increasing involvement in the political world is also interesting to watch. The main drawback of the book is the character of Charlie herself – she’s a highly annoying child and tends to yell, whine and hit out at others when she has any kind of feeling whatsoever. This is likely designed to make the reader feel sorry for Charlie but is mostly just grating. Despite this, tweens will still like reading this book.
Reviewed By Barbra Cothern