In Castle Waiting, Linda Medley delightfully tells some new fairy tales. Some of the tales are reminiscent of traditional fairy tales, but most of them are original in some clever way.
Castle Waiting is a rundown castle that is a refuge for a small community of outcast creatures. It is a place for acceptance, and learning the stories of the remarkable characters in the castle helps us to do so.
I found a quote from Linda Medley on Wikipedia (I don’t have this afterward in my volume). She says:
Castle Waiting was first conceived in 1984, when I was studying folklore and children’s book illustration in college. I had filled a sketchbook with character designs, intending to do my own ‘take’ on some of the classic Grimm’s fairy tales. What really fascinated me were the background characters — their unexplained pasts, and their often unresolved fates.
— from the afterword to Castle Waiting: The Curse of Brambly Hedge (1996).
It is these back stories that are so much fun, and I’m sad that Castle Waiting only told a few of their stories. There’s the lady Jain, who fled her abusive husband to have her child (a baby who has a pig’s nose and ears). There’s Sister Peace, a bearded nun. There’s Rackham, who has a stork’s head. And there are so many more people and animals and sprites to make the castle interesting.
When I finished, I felt disappointed that most of the people were only barely introduced (i.e., I only learned a few of their “back stories”), and it is only as I’m writing these thoughts that I found that this is a continuing series! Linda Medley is writing the back stories of all the people living at Castle Waiting! Now I want to go read the next in the series! And my library doesn’t have any of them! Does anyone know when the second volume will be published in hardcover? My library probably won’t get it before then.
As I said, I do admit that because I didn’t realize that this book is a continuing story, I felt like the book shifted in tone from the first half to the second. While I delighted in the stories of the first half, I found the second half a little bit dull, and I missed learning more about Lady Jain. I wanted to know about all the people, not just about Sister Peace, which was the focus of the second half. I was actually disappointed when I set the book down, because I felt it had a great start and an unsatisfying conclusion. I’m glad to hear that I can learn about the others characters, from Iron Henry to Chess the horse. If you read it realizing it is a serial, you may not be as disappointed as I was.
Despite the large number of pages to this book, it’s a quick read. I read Castle Waiting in two nights, about 1 ½ hours each time. I look forward to giving more graphic novels and comics a try.
Now, maybe you can tell me: What is the difference between a graphic novel and a comic? Is this one a comic because it’s a serial? Are graphic novels, on the other hand, always self-contained?
- Things Mean A Lot (a review that got me to read it)
- A Striped Armchair (a review that got me to read it)
- The Written World
- The Shady Glade
- Book Nut
- You Can Never Have Too Many Books
- Rhinoa’s Ramblings
- A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cosy
If you have reviewed Castle Waiting on your blog, leave a link in the comments and I’ll add it here.