‘Thursdays with the Crown’ by Jessica Day George

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Rating: 5 stars

“Thursdays with the Crown” is the third book in the “Tuesdays at the Castle” series by Jessica Day George. Finally readers will find out how “Wednesdays in the Tower” ends. “Wednesdays at the Castle” ended with a cliffhanger — Celie, her siblings, their good friend Pogue and Prince Lulath all were stranded in a strange alternate world.

In the second book in the series, the castle, an almost-living creation, has not been behaving normally. Instead of creating new rooms on Tuesdays, other rooms are appearing not on schedule. And the holiday room, which appeared during holidays, appears with packed-up decorations and looking dusty. This makes Celie wonder just what and where those rooms are during the time they disappear.

Now Celie will get a chance to find out. The ailing castle takes them to the world where the castle originated. It’s a world filled with griffins, but it’s also a world filled with wizards at war. The new book picks up about an hour after the old book (“Wednesdays in the Tower”) ends. However, anxious readers who already read the second book will have waited a lot longer than that hour for this third one to appear — and the wait will pay off with the excitement and fascination this one generates.

In this alternate world, Celie and her siblings and friends must not only discover what is ailing the castle, but figure out how to return to their own world with their families. As in the first two books, there is action aplenty. There is also lots of magic and the new world is filled with danger.

Jessica Day George creates a plot that is thoroughly enjoyable and riveting. Through dialogue and description, she populates the story with characters who become real, who almost become friends. Celie’s sister could be any reader’s sister — she seems that alive. Readers feel a kinship to Celie and her friends and want to know how they fare. They will not want to put the book down for a minute.

The twists and turns that the group must take to evade the wicked wizards — both of whom are not all that they appear to be — will keep the reader excited. The ending does not disappoint either. While certainly not a cliffhanger, it does leave room for another sequel.

Why five stars? This is a middle grade book that will appeal to a wide audience. It’s got something for most every reader — fantasy, action, adventure, friendship. And it’s really fun to read.

Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher, Bloomsbury Press, for review purposes.