Chris's Reviews > The Castle in the Attic

The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
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Mar 05, 11

Read in February, 2011

This book and its sequel are two very different experiences, and while I prefer the straightforward adventure of the sequel, this book still has a lot of charm.

I always like it when someone comes up with a neat concept and plays that concept for all it's worth. In this case, a toy knight that comes to life when its owner picks it up. Sir Simon is in fact a real knight who was changed to lead, and his entire kingdom is reachable via the model castle William was given as a gift. A magic token can be used to shrink William or anyone else, so they can live in Simon's world, or enlarge them so they can re-enter ours.

The first half of the book takes place in our world, as we explore William's relationship to this curiosity of a miniature knight living in a model castle in his attic. William provides food for Simon - food that's enormous for Simon but mere table scraps for William. The two hang out and talk together. Eventually, through an event I won't spoil, William finally decides to shrink down and enter Simon's world.

Simon's world was put under the curse of an evil wizard, and the people live in fear. There are random curses and trials everywhere at first when William enters the world, and I was beginning to lose interest. One thing I don't like in a story is randomness, as I prefer my events to follow naturally, regardless of how unusual or unrealistic the events themselves are.

Fortunately, that doesn't last too long, and when William reaches the high point of his quest, the randomness ends and the real tension begins. I won't give away any more than that, but I like how the story played out.

Overall, it's a cute story. It's basically two concepts in one - first William is normal-sized and is hanging out with a miniature knight. Then, once William enters Simon's world, it changes to adventure. I found the adventure half of the story the weaker of the two - which is compensated for easily in the fun and adventurous sequel - but it's still a cute, enjoyable book overall.
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