Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: The Twistrose Key

Author: Tone Almhjell
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 336
Available: October 22, 2013
Review Copy: Edelweiss Digital ARC

Summary: 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 cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world.

Full of charm, suspense, and heartfelt emotion, this memorable classic in the making will leave readers breathless. -- Cover image and summary via Goodreads

My Thoughts: Going into the story, I was a bit concerned. Within a handful of pages we have a young girl going through a door and into another world where it is permanently winter and animals behave as humans. Sound familiar? Only if you have read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Fortunately, after those brief nods to C.S. Lewis, The Twistrose Key took on a life of its own.

I appreciated Lin's courage, curiosity, and her ability to "bring her brain to the party." When she finds a key, she immediately sets out to investigate. Don't you just love wonderful old mysterious keys? They whisper of so many possibilities and Lin loves to puzzle things out. She uses what she knows combined with her creative thinking to work through many dicy situations.

Another fun part of the book is the relationship she has with her pet who has become a Petling in Sylver. Their friendship is rich and made me wish for a similar reunion with my childhood pets.

Beyond the friendship, there is a layer of high fantasy at work too with trolls, a winter prince and plenty of magic. I am not generally eager for winter, but Almhjell has created an enchanted frozen world that makes me wish for snow and a great sledding hill.

There were a few illustrations in the digital ARC, but I am looking forward to seeing the completed book so I can get the full effect. Almhjell's detailed world building certainly gave the illustrator plenty of material to use.

I would recommend The Twistrose Key to young fantasy lovers who are undaunted by 300+ pages.


Chapter 1

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