There May Be a Castle by Piers Torday
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I suspect there may be awards in this book’s future. It is a bath-go-cold sort of book; a wheeling, soaring skim through a car journey that goes very wrong and then into somewhere else. Somewhere other. And it’s in this other place that young Mouse has just woken up. His mother isn’t here. Neither are his sisters. It’s just Mouse, a sarcastic talking horse and a sheep that says baa.
And Mouse knows exactly what to do in such fantastical, quest-beginning, sort of circumstances : he is to find the castle. He is to be the hero.
It’s hard to talk about this nuanced, rich book without spoiling elements of it so forgive me if I generalise occasionally. I will try not to, but I want to tell you about how perfect There May Be A Castle is and I want to sort of tell it whilst I’m still lost in it. This is a book that I don’t want to step back from. I think Torday’s getting better – and he was wonderful beforehand. There May Be A Castle feels stronger, somehow, more potent (and again, I say this with the caveat of how wonderful Torday’s other work is). It’s a book that is almost palpable with intent – and freedom. It revels in its space. It knows its space. It is a space of fantasy and of otherness, but also of bravery. Both Mouse and his sister face quests of their own, quests that rely intensely on bravery and being able to take control of the apparently uncontrollable.
I love this book. I love the strength of the protagonists. I love how confident it feels, how potent and powerful it is, and I love it and hate it and love it for the way it made me weep at the ending. I love how it smashes fairytales firmly into the present and makes them into something wonderfully profound and awful and brilliant and gorgeous. It is layered and rich and wonderful and I love it, I love it.
There May Be A Castle is due out on October 6th. I would mark the date.
My thanks to Quercus for the review copy.
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