Wednesday, June 8, 2016

{Review} The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

If you were to ask Amber what her favorite past-time or hobby might be, the answer has always been and quite possibly always will be: reading. While she's not overly particular about her books, and honestly what voracious reader can be, Amber does have genres and styles that are preferred. Instead of telling Amber I had a review opportunity for a fiction novel, I simply showed her the online synopsis for The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins from Shiloh Run Press.

Immediately, Amber was intrigued by the book and asked me where I had found it and how soon could it be in her hands. She was much dismayed to find out that it was a review item and so she had to wait a few weeks for the selection process and shipping. The poor, maligned child watched every single package that came into our house until the book finally arrived.

{Review} The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

The remainder of this review will be from Amber's view point, since I did not read the book. Let me state up front that I did check out the summary prior to accepting the review, read the entire online sample, and thumb through the physical book before handing it over to Amber. We do not allow horror books, zombie apocalypse, or anything I would not read myself. The Glass Castle left me with no concerns at all.

What genre would you consider The Glass Castle?
Amber: General fiction, maybe Mystery / Adventure - but not the who-done-it type of mysteries. Definitely more Young Adult / Teen fiction than elementary school age fiction. Not that there is anything inappropriate in the book; I just think it has concepts that might be too hard for younger kids to grasp and they would miss out on the story then. I know you told me it was a type of Fantasy book when we first looked at it, but I would not go that far at all. I can't remember any real elements of magic or anything fantasy related. (Right... my incorrect perception of the summary.)

What age reader would you recommend for The Glass Castle?
Amber: It was a fairly quick read for me and only took 1 to 1.5 hours of continuous reading that afternoon. Even though it was a fast read, I would again not recommend it for elementary aged kids unless they regularly read more difficult topics. It's not about the reading level, but the story ideas. I might have been able to read it in fifth grade, maybe. I would have enjoyed it the most starting in 7th grade.  (Amber just finished 8th grade.)
{Review} The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

Can you give me a summary of the story?
Amber: I'm going to warn you that the book ends with the story line unresolved because this is apparently the first in a series. If you are going to read the book, there will be spoilers in this summary. (I assured her that I would be okay with spoilers if I did indeed end up reading the book.)

The book starts with a girl, named Avery, and her brother being captured and taken to the castle. The two children are kept separate from each other with the little brother being used as a bargaining chip to keep Avery there. Avery lives with other children that are all 13 years old, like herself. All of the 13 year olds appear to be orphans or for some reason have missing parents. Even though they all live in the castle, the king does not know these children are there completing hidden jobs.

Avery meets other children who have been living in the castle and working for a long time. She learns that the kids have a spy network and spy on an evil lady named Angelina who wants to marry the dying king and then rule. The kids all know her plan. It appears that Angelina is behind most of the kidnappings of these 13 year old children because the King's son, born to his queen that died, would have been about 13 if he lived. There are some people who believe the king's son is alive.

Avery has a flower amulet her mother gave Avery before she died and Avery still has it with her. One day while working in a room with a painting of the queen who died, Avery notices that the queen herself was wearing this exact amulet. It brings up the question of how Avery's mom came to have the amulet and who exactly Avery's mother was to the queen. The story does not lead you to believe that Avery's mother was the queen.

But realizing that Avery's mother's stories of the castle might actually be true, the children begin looking for underground tunnels that Avery was told of by her mom. The tunnels are important, but I won't spoil why.

There are also other adults who know about the kidnapped children who work in the castle and supply the children with information. These adults do not like Angelina and also know about her evil plan to take power after the king dies. One person who helped was an older lady who actually drove the cart that first brought Avery to the castle. However, they eventually find the old lady has been killed for helping the children. This leads them to believe they are on the right track.

The book ends with Avery heading off to compete in the olympiad with the main storyline still unresolved.  I believe the next book is about the olympiad.

{Review} The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

What did you like and dislike about The Glass Castle?
Amber: I loved the story idea and the hidden mystery. I found it unique how all of the main characters are basically unknown to the majority of the supporting characters in the story because they are the kidnapped children working in secret. It's like two stories in one.  There really wasn't anything I disliked about the book, but I would have liked for it to be a bit longer.

Have you read any books you feel are similar to The Glass Castle?
Amber: Off of the top of my head, no. This is kinda different from my normal books and I can't compare it to anything that comes to mind. I'd say this is a fairly unique book.

Would you recommend this book, and if so who to?
Amber: Oh yes! I would definitely recommend this book. Again, it was a pretty easy read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would like to read the next one in the series when it is available (she said this while batting her eyes at me). I would recommend it to anyone older than 6th or 7th grade, even adults, who like mystery or adventure type stories.  It is set in a medieval-like time, not exactly accurate medieval, but clearly not modern times either. So, the reader needs to be someone who likes that setting.

This is pretty much the highest praise Amber can give a novel, and she now has me intrigued enough that I might try to find the spare time to read The Glass Castle myself. However if you are still on the fence about The Glass Castle, please take a look at any of the other 89 reviews of The Glass Castle written by other members of the Review Crew.

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The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}

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