Book: The Castle Corona

The Castle CoronaThe Castle Corona
Sharon Creech
illustrated by David Diaz
2007 (Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins)

Sharon Creech as essentially woven a new story in the style of old folk tales in this book. The story follows two groups of people: a brother and sister who live as peasants in the village and the royal family who live in the castle. Each of the seven main characters wants something, but none of them really seem to be working very hard to get it. They are very realistic people, even though the world they live in does not feel very real at all (it feels like the world of a folk tale, which inherently has an unrealistic feel to it, even though nothing in it is unbelievable). One of the most charming things about the book is that the story is woven so perfectly that the reader almost doesn’t realize it’s happening until the very end. There is so much going on in this book that other than stating that it’s a book about seven people who want things and how they try to get what they want, there really isn’t any way to explain it.

The Castle Corona kind of defies classification. It is not fantasy because nothing fantastical happens, there is no magic or anything that couldn’t really exist, it just happens to be a world that doesn’t exist and never has. I’ve been saying it’s a folk tale rather than saying it’s a fairy tale because we associate magic with fairy tales these days, and there isn’t any magic or nicely wrapped up happy endings in this book. This book just is what it is.

I was thrilled with the characters in this book. They seem very flat at the beginning, like fairy tale characters (“beautiful princess”, “plucky peasant girl”, “adventurous prince”, etc.), but they became very multifaceted and interesting. I was particularly pleased that all three of the main female characters, and even the female secondary characters, were strong and interesting. They defied typical expectations. Everyone saw the queen as just a pretty hostess, but she was really much more clever than her husband and always aware of what was going on around her. The princess seemed to be a stereotypical vapid, pretty princess, but what she wanted was to do something and the fact that she never got to drove her crazy, which proved that she was more. Even Pia, who was the plucky peasant girl, may have been charmed by the handsome prince, but she still wished that she could have rescued herself when the time came and found it annoying he had to swoop in and save her! The women were smart and interesting. The male characters had their own wants and personalities and, for once, they were as varied as people’s wants and personalities really are! This was, for me, a completely character driven book and with this book it was incredibly amazing. I didn’t start out liking all the characters, and I’m still not sure I like all of them, but I found all of them incredibly interesting and entertaining to read about (and since when do you need to like everyone you read about anyway?).

I really loved this book. The descriptions were great, the characters were vivid and real and interesting, and the plot had just the right number of twists and turns! As I was reading it I couldn’t put the book down and as soon as I finished I wanted to pick it up and start again. Rarely is that the case with me. Even if I adore a book and wish it had kept going longer, I almost never have the desire to immediately read it again. This is really a special book. Clearly the publisher thought so too because it’s absolutely gorgeous. The cover is embossed in gold and the first page of every single chapter is illuminated like an old manuscript in gold scrollwork and a little illustration that kind of looks like stained glass. This is really a beautiful book. I highly recommend this one. It’s unlike Creech’s other books, but absolutely as good (one of her best, in my opinion).

- Publisher’s Description
- Sharon Creech’s Website
- Buy it from Amazon

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