Juushika's Reviews > The Autumn Castle

The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins
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's review
Aug 28, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: genre-fantasy, status-owned
Read in August, 2012

As a child, Christine's best friend was abducted; as an adolescent, Christine's parents were killed in a car crash that left Christine with chronic pain. Now, autumn in Berlin, living with her lover in an artist's hotel, Christine is confronted by the return of her childhood friend--who has spent the intervening years as a faery queen. The Autumn Castle is an urban fantasy-cum-portal fantasy with a gleeful sense of the grotesque, and could easily be too frivolous for my tastes--but to my surprise, I loved it. It's far from perfect: the writing is often only serviceable, characters are often immature, the star-crossed romances are deeply heteronormative and a bit boring, there's a sizable dose of fat-shaming, and the plot has a distinct sense of inevitability--the reader waits to see not what will happen, but when and how. Yet that discovery is a joy because the book has such depth. The worldbuilding is sufficiently unique as to be refreshing, characters are often aware of their flaws and offer distinct voices and emotional complexity, and the book digs deep into each moment while seeming always to offer one more, and so feels longer than it is in the best possible way; combined with a readable lightness of tone, it's a book to get lost in for hours at a time as escapist but resonant, fulfilling entertainment. Even Christine's chronic pain is handled well--not with so much depth as to slow the book, but with relative grace. I picked up The Autumn Castle on simple whim, and it has its limitations, but the truth is that I enjoyed every page and will probably seek out more by the author. It's not exceptional, but if you have the chance to try it I recommend that you do.

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