August 5, 2020

The Castle of Tangled Magic- Book Review

By browzly

Read on to know more about The Castle of Tangled Magic, the magical fantasy by Sophie Anderson coming out on 1st Oct 2020.

4-Star Rating

Sophie weaves a world of magic and imagination that is sure to imprint young minds with important life lessons

Bhavna Mishra, Founder and CEO at Browzly

Olia, the hero in our story, is the chosen one to save castle Mila, the beloved home of her family for five hundred years. The problem- she hasn’t got a clue how she’s going to do it? The castle’s guarding spirit helps Olia figure the answers. But are they the correct answers? Is she making a grave mistake? Olia is not sure, read this magical fantasy to find out what choices does Olia make? Does she save her home or does she see beyond her own pressing concerns of saving Castle Mila?

“You must cut off the beard of the Wizard Chernomor to save your land, says the cat.” A large part of The Castle of Tangled magic reminded me of old American classic- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as Olia, our 13-year old protagonist lands in the Land of Forbidden Magic, in the midst of a storm with a fox spirit. An increasing number of curious magical spirits join the party, who travel through a series of hazards, to find the wizard who holds the answers to all their problems. This is a story that saves the best for the last. I loved how in the second half, Olia learns what home really is? It’s not the walls or the grand rooms even if you lived in them for five hundred years, it’s something more precious.

The story also brings to life the Indian belief of ‘Vasudhaiv kutumbkam’ – a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu scriptures, which means ‘The World is One Family’- a concept that is so relevant to the current times.

Imagery and visually descriptive language with similes and metaphors are used in abundance to paint the characters inspired from the Slavic folk lore. The Castle of Tangled Magic will be loved by teachers of KS2 teaching students of 9-11 years of age. Teachers may explore the themes of importance of accepting change, learning from mistakes and failures, doing the best you can and remembering what’s really important. The Castle of Tangled Magic, also has many beautiful quotes worth remembering and my favourite one is- ‘Belief is one the few things more powerful than magic.’ To know which are the other ones, read this magical fantasy that comes out on the 1st of Oct 2020 and is available to preorder here

The reason the book does not get five stars from me:

First 8 chapters are dedicated to the setting and introduction of the characters, the story flows well with lots in anticipation. I would have very much enjoyed a prologue with a big bang edge of the seat action scene giving us a peek into the perils that were set to befall the castle or those that happened five hundred years ago, before getting into the setting and character descriptions.

The chapters move linearly with characters explaining what happened in the past. I think use of flashback chapters, going back to five hundred years before, to actually live through the events and meet the evil character of Ludmila rather than simple narration of what happened would have made for a stronger first half. It would have made the story a lot more intriguing, riveting and exciting from the beginning to the end.

I read an advance copy that I believe has not been completely edited for text and illustrations. The illustrations by Saara Sodurlund are gorgeous and that’s why I think there should be more of them to bring the landscapes and the characters especially those of Felix and the Land of Forbidden Magic to life.

The above review is now also available on the Browzly app. A self-marking multimedia quiz will also automatically pop up when the readers will mark this book as read on Browzly. This reviews is done from an electronic preview copy shared by publishers through NetGalley

This review is written by Bhavna Mishra, founder of Browzly, a reading for pleasure focused teaching and learning technology. Browzly securely connects school communities-teachers, parents and students, to share what they read- create text and video reviews and discover age and Lexile levelled reading recommendations. Members can take book and topic quizzes created by teachers or by Browzly to gain points as well as list and swap books in their personal home collections with members in their school. Teachers may also create self-marking multimedia quizzes for their students, parents and peers. Download the free app from Apple App store or Google Play or login on the website