Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Castle Hangnail - Middle Grade Review

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Castle Hangnail
by Ursula Vernon

At a Glance


Genre(s):

Fantasy, Humor


Age Range: 

8-12


Plot:

When 12 year old Molly shows up at Castle Hangnail to fill its wicked witch vacancy, the minions of the castle are a bit skeptical. Will she be able to complete the tasks set by the Board of Magic so that Castle Hangnail isn't decommissioned and sold?


Pros:

  • Original and clever plot--I was surprised at the twists and turns
  • funny
  • Fun, well rounded characters
  • I loved the idea of the minions (like Igor, not the yellow dudes) and the Minion Union
  • Satisfying ending

Cons:

  • I wasn't a huge fan of the artwork (I usually like Vernon's stuff)


Would I recommend this title:

Yes! I would especially recommend this to anyone who has read and enjoyed Goth Girl by Chris Riddell.


The Review


When I picked up Castle Hangnail, I expected a cute, predictable story. I was quite surprised at how great this book was. I usually can see where the plot is headed, but this one took some unexpected turns and it was wildly refreshing. 

I was also surprised at how funny it was. There are some definite cute parts in the book, but they're not overly cutesy or pandering, if that makes sense. 

I especially enjoyed the minions in the book. The minions--there's even an Igor-like character--take care of the castle, serve the Master and are employed by the Minions Union. It is quite fun.

My only complaint is that I didn't feel that the art in the book added much to the story. It felt sporadic, and pulled me out of the book. I will say, though, the culprit may have been the formatting on my 2nd generation Kindle instead of the artwork itself.

Overall, this is a great book. Even the ending is solid. And Vernon leaves a little wiggle room for a sequel. I'd be okay with that. 

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