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The Twistrose Key

(The Twistrose Key #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,179 ratings  ·  368 reviews
A striking middle-grade debut in the tradition of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass

When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the c
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Dial Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  2,179 ratings  ·  368 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Lin receives an unexpected package wrapped with brown paper and tied with sodden string. Inside she discovers a key that opens a door to the frost-covered land of Sylver, a magical realm where every dead animal that ever loved a child is alive again and has grown to the size of humans. Sylver is poised on the brink of disaster and Lin is tasked with finding the one person who can save the magical realm from being destroyed forever.

The Twistrose Key has an undeniable Narnian quality: a secret do
Marie the Librarian
What a wonderful magical book! I felt like I was 10 years old again and entering a unique and amazing world!!
Barb Middleton
Dec 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, grief
Lin Rosenquist reminds me of Dorothy who gets transported to Oz, except Lin ends in the enchanted city of Sylveros, home to Petlings, animals who were once the favorite pet of a child. Dorothy's pet was the dog, Toto, whereas Lin's pet is a vole, Rufus, who is now the size of a human and can talk like one. The magic of Sylveros is fed by the wild joy that children feel when the first snowfall happens. Now imagine a Norwegian Dorothy. She's in a blue and white wool sweater with mittens, hat and m ...more
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is as clear, sparkling, and magically crisp as a walk outside on a midwinter's night. It's a quest tale, but so lovingly rendered and comprehensively constructed that I found myself wanting to wander around in the imagined world after the completely satisfying ending. I can't wait for Tone Almhjell's next journey back to Sylveros, if one is planned! Highly recommended for readers age 9-adult, human, wildling, and petling alike. Read it now, while it's cold outside. :) ...more
H. S. Palladino
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone has been raving about this book and now I understand why. A lovely story, wonderful fairytale, well written. What more to ask?
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 3-stars
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Oh my gosh, yes. It's gorgeous! With the gold and the midnight blue and the little woodcut animal illustrations. While the synopsis caught my attention, this was, in all honesty, a faith buy totally based on the cover art.

Characters: Lin is adventurous, curious, intelligent, and therefore the ideal protagonist for a Middle Grade story. I would have questioned her absolute readiness to jump headlong into an adventure without preparation or question, but she's a kid. Somewh
Angela Crouch
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Get the tissues ready folks! If animals hold a soft spot in your heart, like they do mine, you will definitely need them from the middle grade fantasy book, The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell. The book is very very similar to the land of Naria, but I loved the premise behind it.

Lin Rosenquist is an eleven year old girl who just moved from her beloved Summerhill to Old Towne, where she has no friends and her favorite pet, Rufus, has died. When Lin is sent a key in a mysterious parcel, she follows
Mathilde Paulsen
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Review in English, because even though I read the book in Norwegian, it exists in English as well)
This book is unique, awesome, suspenseful and dark - for being a children's novel. The author has made up a world where all our favourite, beloved pets go after death. It is into this world our mc ventures in true portal fantasy style. The world is almost falling apart, for many different reasons, and it is up to our mc to save them. I adore the way the book is written, the characters, the world an
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not crying, you’re crying.

This was really cute. That’s it, really. If I wanted to, I could probably point out things that could be done better, but this was just a sweet middle-grade book about friendship, adventure, and magic.

I tried picking this up four years ago but didn’t finish it for some reason. I’m very glad that my book club has arranged a meeting with the author in about two weeks; otherwise I probably wouldn’t have read this for another four years.
Elizabeth Mathis
With blood on her thorns she must creep through the wall.
When the last hope is lost, a Twistrose is called.


There are books with young characters that are awkward, stilted, and suffocated...and then, there's The Twistrose Key. From page one, the prose is beautiful and lilting--an almost lullaby whispered across the mind of the reader. The story opens with Lindelin Rosenquist, alone next to a rosebush, missing her friend Rufus. As the novel progresses, Lin is granted entry to a world that child
Kat Heckenbach
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This book started off with beautiful writing, and ended with beautiful writing. There were some places in the middle that I found a little confusing and slow, but there were a lot of ideas and clues to plant in this story and it was absolutely worth reading through.

It took a while for the story world to really build, but when it finally felt fully-formed, I found it pretty wonderful, and it made me hope for a sequel so I can return to the story world. I loved the concept of the Twistrose--a huma
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tween-teen, fantasy
I had a hard time getting through this book. Premise sounded promising: a girl travels to the magical realm where every dead pet that was loved by a child goes. It's up to her to save the prince and save their world. But I honestly couldn't follow the story. I felt lost half the time, the twists and turns were so convoluted, and every-other word is some term made up by the author, I often felt like I was reading a foreign language. Also, the writing style just didn't click with me. Not a bad sto ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this for my girls of nine and eleven, and am quite convinced that this is the best way to read it. The breathtaking suspense is better appreciated with listeners of that age, and there is less room for critical thoughts of how much comes from Narnia, how much from the Brothers Lionheart etc. And I found myself very much moved by the themes of friendship and separation by death or by growing up, again more so than I would have been on my own. It's not perfect, but writing a book with talki ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Twistrose Key has been described as a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass, and it is every bit as lovely as those two books. Almhiell creates a wonderful world in Sylver, one that should really be read in the Winter time with a cup of your favorite hot beverage and your pet snuggling up next to you. Lucky for me, we had some additional snow over the weekend, so I certainly could identify with the setting. And the beautiful prose, " Lin had lived for eleven years whe ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
First of all, the production quality of the hardcover is phenomenal. This is a GORGEOUS book, and no pictures of it do it justice. It would be so great for a child who has recently lost a pet, or simply for a child who loves pets dearly.

I wish I liked this better than I did. The style didn't quite work for me. I can't put my finger on why, but as I'd be reading, the sentences didn't quite fit inside my head; they'd slide around and I'd have to read a paragraph twice to understand it. That wouldn
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, tweens
This has lovely potential for a book, but the storytelling just doesn't quite hit the mark. With tinges of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe," the author places her child character in an alternate world of talking animals and magic with a mission to complete. However, the world building seems to have become too much for the narrative to manage, making the story stall at points and hard to follow at others. There are some lovely ideas here, but I just could not get fully absorbed in the book ...more
Dakota★Magic in Every Book
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This was an exceptionally sweet, fun, and engaging middle grade novel. It focuses on Sylveros (which is rendered in beautiful maps), where pets that had a strong bond with a child go after death, to live a second life. Lin is summoned to Sylveros to solve a mystery and help save the very world of the Petlings, and she is reunited with her recently departed pet, Rufus. It's fun, mysterious, sweet, interesting, and quite an enjoyable story. ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Pages Read: 25

In my experience, middle grade tends to work really well for me or not so much at all. Looks like this will be the latter. The opening chapters are disjointed and confusing. The narrative will go into a flashback and then return to the present without warning. If I hear that this one's good, I might add it back to my to-read list and get a library copy, hoping for some edits.
Gina (My Precious Blog)
Closer to 3.5 stars. I think this is a great read for kids, with lots to keep them entertained. As an adult I'd rate it as just ok. ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One night. One crazy adventure. 5 stars! I enjoyed it and I'm sure any 8-12 year old would love this book. Definitely going to read it to my daughters soon. ...more
Kerri (Book Hoarder)
Nov 28, 2014 marked it as on-hold
This skews a bit younger than I was expecting, but it DOES say 'middle-grade' right there in the summary, haha, so it's my own fault. ...more
✨AYL 010 ➢ The Professional Disaster ➢

Ehhhh. If you're a person like me, a book like this usually gets dumped into the big pile of "obscure books that I totally forgot about" and ignored for a long time. (Speaking of those, I need to clean out that pile...) I feel like this book would've been great if it wasn't so... souless. Lin suffers no emotional struggles, she is a character that isn't a Mary Sue close to it - the kind of character who occasionally makes wrong decisions but when corrected, goes oh you're right! I can't belie
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it

I was drawn to the beautiful cover on this book and found the premise intriguing. I actually started reading this out loud with my 11 year old son. He thought it was “creepy and boring” and wanted to stop reading it after the first few chapters. I ended up finishing it on my own and have to agree; the story moved slow and was boring.

Additionally I struggled with the characters; they didn’t have much personality and didn’t really engage me as a reader. I thought the fact that the main animal (Li
Hannah Belyea
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Upon receiving a mysterious key in the mail, Lin finds a door in the cellar of her new home and is drawn into a realm where her pate pet Rufus, along with every other animal ever loved by a child, live in peace. At least, that should be, but when the duo set out to find a missing boy of ice, they unravel a plot that could tear apart the world if Lin is unable to find the truth! Almhjell dives into a world of charming characters and beautiful imagery with this enjoyable novel, sure to have fans b ...more
Becky B
There is a magical land called Sylver where animals who have been dearly loved by a child and loved the child in return appear after they die. Sylver’s magic is powered by the joy of children and recharged once every 94 years with the help the Winterfyrsts and the Wanderer. This year, however, Sylver is in danger because the Wanderer has come, but the last of the Winterfyrsts have disappeared. Also someone is organizing the typically loner Nightmares out on the moors and threatening to upset the ...more
Tanja Berg
Book challenge 2015, category "A book I chose because of its cover". Rating 4.4* out of 5, read in Norwegian.

I had a rather ill-fated shopping trip on Saturday. I hate shopping for anything but books. This time I was only going to buy dog food, but my husband came along wanting to look at some tech stuff, which meant I went to the bookshop. There I found this little gem, sitting on a shelf, with a discount. The cover truly is amazing in real life. I had heard of the book before, but not bought i
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The fantasy adventure novel the TwistRose key by tone Almhjell Joe, is a great book for literally anyone, but you will most enjoy it if you are an animal lover or a lover of amazing adventure and loads of twists. The question is who can you trust... as you read this book it will grip you and never let go until the very, very end were you will say "isn't there anymore?" It is an action packed book with mysterious surprises and sad twists. For example, "I love her too, yes. she loved me, too, even ...more
Alysa H.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

The world that Almhjell has created here is lovely. Anyone who has visited a well-preserved medieval European town during a snowy winter will have a good idea of what Sylver looks like, and the human-sized talking animals who inhabit it are charming. There are many different characters among them, most good but a few villainous, and I enjoyed all of them. Especially, of course, Rufus and Teodor. The young human heroine, Lin, has a particularly w
Kristen Harvey
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been anticipating this book since I first read the summary and found from page one that I was in a magical world of imagination. The beautiful settings really brought Lin's world to life as she found herself looking for answers. She receives a key that could only belong to a certain door, one that she finds in the cellar. Where this door leads to is another world, where all beloved pets go to after dying in their own world. The world is no heaven though, strife with it's own problems tha ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013

I'd give this a 3.5 actually! Very suited to younger readers.


I will admit that The Twistrose Key and I didn't start off on the right foot. The first couple of chapters felt a teensy bit forced; I nearly gave up on it then and there. But once Lin enters the world of Sylver, things certainly start to pick up. The end result is an adventure that takes readers through a few different worlds, replete with villains and friends and quests to fulfill.

This novel is very inventive. E
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Tone Almhjell grew up in Kristiansund and Trøndelag. Today she lives in Oslo with her husband and children. She has a master's degree in English literature from the University of Oslo, and wrote thesis on Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. She also has a Master of Science Fiction from the University of Liverpool.


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“Out of old sweet habit, Lin stuck her hand in her left pocket, and that's when she found it.
"Oh, very clever," she whispered. "One point to Rufus of Rosenquist."
In her palm, she held her cardigan drawstring, still damp from the snow, still tied into a twice-bound knot. The troll-hunter signal for "I am here."
Lin tucked it back into her pocket, smiling to herself. Whatever happened she would not be alone.”
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