Linda Medley – Castle Waiting, Vol. 2
Length: 464 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Started/Finished: 23 March 2014
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I was totally charmed by Volume 1 and sad when it ended, so of course I wanted Volume 2!
Moving – even to
a castle – is best when you’ve
got friends to help out.
Summary: Volume 2 picks up where Volume 1 left off, with the inhabitants of the sanctuary of Castle Waiting settling in for the winter. Most of the story in this volume springs from Lady Jain wanting to move to a permanent room in the old keep, near the library. Everyone is eager to help, but some help is more helpful than others. Some of Iron Henry’s adoptive family, the Hammerlings, have come to visit as well, and they fall quickly enough into the pace of life at Castle Waiting, while their skills with rock and masonry come in quite handy. Along the way we get a little more of Jain, Henry, and the Doctor’s backstories, learn some tips for bowling, and finally settle things with the mischievous house sprites.
Review: I think I may have enjoyed this volume even more than the first. Castle Waiting is just such a comfortable, familiar, and happy-feeling world that it’s easy to sink into, and sad to leave. I love the mix of various fairy tale elements and fantasy tropes (in this one, there’s lots of bits with secret passageways and haunted castles on top of everything else), and I love the general friendly vibe of the story. There’s no peril (well, not much) or adventure or feats of derring-do, but there’s people going about their business and helping each other and poking gentle fun at each other and just being good people (or dwarves. Or storks. Or whatever.) These are absolutely character-driven stories, not plot-driven, but the characters are so interesting and so likeable that I honestly barely notice that there’s not a particularly strong plot. And actually, this one had a more coherent through-line in the story than the first one did, and it balanced its current day events with its flashbacks more effectively. These books are also funny – not snarky, not mean, but subtly and gently funny… and I dare anyone not to find the house sprites and their “Lluuv beebeebee” and “Reetoomee!” the cutest things ever.
That’s from Volume 1, but… adorable, no? C’mon.
The artwork is also great, detailed enough to give the story a vivid atmosphere, but still with clean lines and scenes that draw they eye in without overwhelming. Medley’s got a knack for capturing expressions while still keeping her characters recognizable, which can be tricky to pull off. In general, Medley just creates this wonderful, warm world filled with wonderful, warm, funny characters, and makes the reader immediately feel right at home. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: For folks who like the Fables-style mashing together of fairy tale sources, but are interested in something a little gentler and less gritty, Castle Waiting is waiting for you.
First Line: “Fiddlesticks! Nope… nope… not in there.”
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