Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

Ursula Vernon posts on the File 770 comments where I hang out sometimes, and we’ve probably exchanged pop culture references. Nothing valuable, though. In fact, that’s where I heard about her books. They’re pretty good, and have lots of secret gardening lore embedded within. When I found out this one was going to be made into a movie I decided to read it, and it's easily the most amusing thing I've read this year.  

Castle Hangnail is small and unremarkable as far as evil fortresses go, and its new mistress, Molly, is not exactly the powerful wielder of dark arts that everyone expected. She’s more of a regular teenage girl, seeking refuge icky mean girls as she boldly steps into her new role while wearing especially wicked boots that had a lot to do with solidifying her authority. She’s got a little magic, though -- a lot more than she realizes -- and a rapport with moles, and she gets along well with the diverse crew of minions that keep Castle Hangnail running.

I was enchanted by this book. It’s just the right size, it’s exactly suspenseful enough and Molly’s story unrolls with a nicely-paced rhythm. Plus there are plenty of in-jokes for gardeners. I believe this one has been snapped up by television, and I’m sure it will be wonderful, but I do recommend it in book form as being a perfect tale for a window seat on an autumn day, or as distraction during a case of the flu or a presidential election, or sneaking chapters late at night under the covers with a flashlight, which is what we had to do before our reading material was backlit. 

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