My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: January 28th, 2020
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Tween, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary
It has been a while since I last read a Kerstin Gier book. At least six years, really. But I do remember enjoying the magic in her Ruby Red Trilogy so I was hoping to be swept away by A Castle in the Clouds as well. Aside from having a really compelling title, it just seemed so mysterious.
It is not. Oh, it tries to be. It features a very large cast of characters, kind of like in the game Clue. There are secrets, illegal activity, suspects and our narrator who tries to make heads or tails out of what is happening around her. Not usually successfully.
There are many long descriptions of what characters are doing. If I had cared about those people, maybe I would have enjoyed the descriptions more, but the author failed to effectively present the large cast. Many are introduced all at once. Some are seen in the beginning, then much later in the book. There is a lot of name-dropping that is supposed to mean something to us but I did not connect. Or care.
I barely even connected with Sophie, the narrator. And I could have done without the romance stuff. At times, this felt like a middle grade book—who wants to read about babysitting duties?—and at other times like a tween book. Besides, I was expecting it to be more original. There is no other way around it: I am disappointed. Period.
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