ARC Review – The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell

18365279Title:  The Castle Behind Thorns

Author: Merrie Haskell

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn’t this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Huge thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

This book is beautiful. Start to finish, Haskell takes the reader on such an enchanting journey with some really lovely characters. I completed adored Sand and Perrotte, and their secrets were just so shocking and heartbreaking, and I loved them.

I don’t want to spoil a lot of this novel because the mystery element is a huge part of it, but this was a book I was just completed glued to. I found myself turning pages, falling head over heels with the descriptions within the text and just loving the events. It’s also interesting how much personality the castle Haskell created has, on top of the fact that the brambles and thorns are a huge part of the narrative.

Sand is a fantastic protagonist as well. He’s methodical, perceptive, understanding and above all, kind. He has such a sense of right and wrong, but he struggles with trying to do the best or right action. His interaction with Perrotte was also so perfectly woven in the story, and I loved the two of them together. Haskell really does offer a lot of surprises in this story, and a lot of it I admit, I didn’t predict.

I think this is a book to watch out for. Its such a down to earth fantasy story with no bells or whistles, just a ton of heart. I think teens will enjoy the characters and narrative as much as adults will. There is just so much intrigue within Castle Behind Thorns, that the layers will keep peeling off, and the surprises will be plentiful.

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