Mar 27, 2008

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

Castle Waiting starts as a retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”, but, unlike the best known versions of the fairy tale, it doesn’t end with the prince and the princess happily going off together. Instead, that is when it truly begins. What happens to the castle that was isolated for a hundred years? What happens to the people who slept alongside the princess?

Let us fast forward. The princess's three ladies-in-waiting are the only original inhabitants of the castle left. The castle has become a safe haven, a refuge for those who seek it. It is a place where misfits can find acceptance, a place women can flee to to escape abusive husbands, a place where single mothers can find companionship and happiness. Its inhabitants now include a stork-headed castle steward named Rackman, the mysterious sister Peace, a horse-headed knight, and demons, brownies, goblins, and ghosts, among others.

Jain, a pregnant lady with a mysterious past, makes for the castle to seek peace and refuge. Slowly, she begins to get to know the castle and its inhabitants, who tell her their stories, as well as the stories that someone in their stories told them, creating a final effect where layers and layers of enthralling tales rest over one another. Sister Peace, a character I initially regarded with suspicion (I think her pet demon is to blame for that), ends up becoming central to the story, and reveals herself to be wise and remarkable in many ways. She tells a fascinating story involving a circus, a lion tamer, lots of puppies, a mill, and an order of bearded nuns.

Linda Medley has created a story full of humour and warmth, peopled with characters you truly care about – peculiar and intriguing, yes, but accepting and wise and kind. Plus, Castle Waiting will delight fairy tale lovers with references to "Puss in Boots" and "Rumplestinskin" and other legends and myths that help create a truly magical atmosphere.

Linda Medley’s art is as good as her storytelling – subtle and incredibly expressive, full of little details like glances and raised eyebrows and trolls hiding under bridges that help pull you into the story and simply do not let go.

Castle Waiting is a charming fairy tale about friendship, genuineness, justice, acceptance, and learning to be happy in whatever way you choose to be. I anxiously await the publication of the second collected volume later this year.

You can take a look at the first issue of Castle Waiting here – but do keep in mind that the art looks even better on paper.

Other Blog Reviews:
A Striped Armchair
Books & Other Thoughts (I)
Books & Other Thoughts (II)
Book Nut
You Can Never Have Too Many Books
Nothing of Importance
The Written World
Libri Touches
Rhinoa’s Ramblings
The Shady Glade
Ticket to Anywhere
Rebecca Reads


  1. I'm SOLD!! Must must try it. What an interesting take on the story, eh?

  2. Me, too! This sounds so full of fun!

  3. This looks fascinating! I always enjoy retellings that focus on parts of the story which are usually background or just ignored.

  4. One of the best things about working at a library is being able to walk over to the shelf and pull off a book as soon as I read your review (it's very slow today)! :-)

    I have found two of them, though - one is Castle Waiting: The Curse of Brambly Hedge (which was in the juvenile section), and the other is Castle Waiting, Vol. 1: The Lucky Road (which was in the young adult section). I took both of them. They look great, and I'd never even noticed them before. Thanks for the review!

  5. Please, please, please, library have this! Sounds positively wonderful!

    You sure have been reading up a storm, Nymeth!

  6. I read the first series years ago and loved it. I am buying the single issues of this new series as it comes out. LM is certainly talented artistically and she tells a darn good story!

  7. Cool series...and what an original concept! I love that she does the art and writes the stories. That's not something you see too often. I swear, my whole wishlist is just your blog now :p

  8. Sounds interesting and intriguing! I've to look out for this one. Thanks, Nymeth! :)

  9. Ooo! I love the story of Sleeping Beauty, and this sounds like a good follow-up. Thanks for the great review, Nymeth.

  10. This sounds really lovely and is definitely going on my list next time someone asks what I want for a birthday/christmas/tuesday etc.

  11. Andi, I think you'll love this!

    Jenclair, you too!

    Jeane, so do I. Those are often the most interest retellings.

    Darla: lol, working at a library does seem to have its perks :P It sounds like those are individual volumes - what I read was a hardcover collection of the first twelve volumes. I think that The Curse of Brambly Edge is the first, and it'll gave you a taste of the story.

    Debi: I hope your library does have it! And there's a simple explanation for my reading this week: Spring break + awful rainy weather = lots of time spent indoors reading :P

    Carl: I can't wait for the collected second volume. I really want to see where she's taking the story!

    Chirs: lol, sorry for the "damage" to your wishlist :P And yeah, it's not often that you see a single person have both talents!

    Melody, I hope you enjoy it!

    Literary Feline: You're welcome :) It is a great follow-up!

    Rhinoa: Do add it to your list, I really think you'll enjoy it!


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