Saturday 17 May 2014

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell eARC Review!

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Title : The Castle Behind Thorns
Author : Merrie Haskell
Pages : 240
Published : May 27th 2014
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Source : Edelweiss

A magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that is sure to appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.

With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, Merrie Haskell's The Castle Behind Thorns tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

My Thoughts : 

You would think that a story about a boy trapped in a castle would be boring but it wasn't. Sand wakes up alone and has no idea how he got there. He argued with his dad and snuck out to go to his grandmothers house and then the last thing he remembers is praying to the statue of the saint and then nothing. 

Sand tries to leave but the thorns wont let him. He gets pricked by one and ends up with a fever and feels horrible. He pries the thorn out and feels better but after that he knows he cant rely on any help from the outside. Thankfully it seems that because nothing grows or dies in the castle he has food for a while, so to stave off boredom he fires up the smithy and starts fixing things. 
Everything he fixes seems to work, even when they shouldn't! He mends a stuffed Falcon just to have something to talk to. Next thing he knows the falcon comes to life. 

I loved Sand. Even in his predicament he tries to stay upbeat. He is lonely but stays busy. When the lost princess arrives he finally has a companion. He is very smart and level headed. 

Perrotte was a different story. She harboured so much pain, rage and hatred, which is understandable considering her story. Sand is like a balm to her though and helps her work through things. Their friendship was sweet and each has things they have to work through to get free. 

The Castle Behind Thorns was a magical journey. Its a story of forgiveness, of truth and consequences. The author draws you into the story with her beautiful writing and captures your heart with the fantastic characters.  We learn both Sand and Perottes stories and each have things they find out about themselves. Just because something is broken does it mean it has to be fixed? Can you forgive someone when they did the worst thing possible? Its a beautiful story woven with magic and fantasy and Id highly recommend. 


  1. This sounds like a wonderful book, great review!

  2. Enchanted castle! It immediately sends me to think about Harry Potter :D
    Sounds like a great book.

    1. Its nothing like Harry Potter!! Its a wonderful story though :)

  3. Is this middle grade? It sounds good, a boy in a castle that is different :)

  4. I don't read Middle Grade, but this one seems too good to ignore. And, plus beautiful writing? I totally need to get my hands on this.

    1. Some Middle Grade books are really really good!! Im a mother of 4 so read a good bit with the boys and I enjoy it immensely :)