Wednesdays in the Tower is the sequel to Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George. It’s a middle grade book that continues the adventures of Celie, the youngest daughter of King Glower and Queen Celina. For those unfamiliar with the first book, the premise is basically that Castle Glower is “alive” and it frequently adds, removes or changes rooms or entire areas of the castle as it sees fit! It usually does this on Tuesdays, hence the name.
Celie has a special bond with the castle and she alone knows all the ins and outs. Celie and her siblings Rolf, the eldest son and heir, and Lilah her sister face tragedy early on when the king and queen are ambushed and presumed dead. The children must fend off attempts to takeover the kingdom by outsiders- and their greatest ally may be the castle itself. The cast is rounded out by Pogue Parry, a roguish villager (and shameless flirt) who helps the kids and Lulath, a charmingly eccentric ambassador from a neighboring land.
Wednesdays in the Tower picks up after these events. Things have returned to normal but it’s not long before things get interesting again. Celie is led by the castle to an orange egg- an egg that soon hatches! The creature that emerges has a connection to the first book and proves to be a real handful for Celie. Add to this the arrival of a mysterious wizard who is more than he seems (aren’t they all?), and the stage is set for some serious mayhem.
The star of the book is in many ways the castle itself. Celie is an engaging protagonist, clever and forthright, but as in the first book it is the castle that provides all the surprises. Things are a little different this time though- in the first installment the castle was clearly acting in the best interests of the royal children, and there was little doubt where the castle’s loyalties lay. In this book however things are a little murkier- the castle is acting strangely (or so they think) and we learn more about the history of the castle and where it comes from.
Wednesdays in the Tower is a little shorter than the first book, and felt a little breezier. I was more invested in the first one for some reason, probably because the plot was a little more gripping. After all the kids were trying to survive a takeover attempt and the stakes were higher. There is not a lot of deep characterization here, the characters are lightly sketched and then off we go. The chapters are relatively short and often end with some kind of mild cliffhanger. The story itself moves pretty fast and it’s entertaining enough that you want to keep going.
The book itself ends on a cliffhanger, which surprised me a bit as the first book was self- contained. This is definetly a series now and the ending seemed very abrupt. All in all I thought the book was fun and breezy but not as good as the first one.