Princess Celie is the Castle favorite. The capital C is significant, for not only do all the inhabitants of the royal castle of Sleyne love Celie, the youngest daughter of King Glower the Seventy-ninth and his queen, but Castle Glower loves her, too. The castle is much more than a residence and seat of power. It is a mysterious, living entity that selects the heir to the throne. Hence, every king of Sleyne assumes the name Glower. The castle makes its intentions and will known by adding and subtracting, moving and rearranging rooms, usually on Tuesdays. Celie loves Tuesdays at the castle and the changes it often brings. She spends hour after hour mapping the castle and knows it better than almost anyone. Nevertheless, she is disappointed when she, her older sister Lilah and her 14-year-old brother, Crown Prince Rolf, are forced to remain behind at Castle Glower while their parents travel to the distant School of Wizardry to attend her oldest brother’s graduation. The royal entourage is attacked on the return journey, and the king, queen and Prince Bran are presumed dead though their bodies are not recovered. As neighboring kingdoms send emissaries for the memorial service it quickly becomes evident that someone is plotting to take over the throne. The royal children are unsure who to trust, but Celie knows they can rely on the castle to help them save themselves and the kingdom.
Young readers looking for dynamic female characters will love Princess Celie. She is the youngest in a strong character set: Rolf is wise and brave beyond his years, Lilah is calm and capable, but Celie’s determination and courage dominate this satisfying fantasy for grades 3-6, and her success will give readers a vicarious sense of empowerment.