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The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson
Olia lives with her parents in an old crumbling castle, filled with hidden turrets and secret doorways. When she follows a mysterious cat to one of the castle's roof domes, she finds herself stepping through one such doorway into a magical land filled with wonders. But everything is not quite as it seems: the land is under threat from a scheming magician, Chernmor, and the magic is fading away. With the help of an enchanted band of new friends, can Olia find a way to save both her own home and the land of forbidden magic?
Olia lives with her parents, grandma and baby sister in Castle Mila, a gorgeous castle filled with secrets and hidden turrets and doorways. Olia is always exploring the castle’s secrets and longs for adventure. One night, when a storm starts destroying the castle, it’s up to Olia to step into a magical new world and find a way to save not just her family but the inhabitants of this new land she’s discovered.
This was such an extraordinary, remarkable read steeped full of magic and wonder that utterly captivated me. The way Anderson creates such incredible worlds is admirable and I am always in awe of how she weaves Russian folktales and folklore into her already awe-inspiring stories. The setting of The Castle of Tangled Magic is just filled with enchantment, mystery and entrancement. Castle Mila is described gorgeously and it made me just want to explore it myself, alongside Olia. The other world that Olia visits is also fascinating to discover and you learn more about it as you go along the story. Anderson is such a remarkable world builder and I am honestly inspired by it.
Plot wise, I was absorbed in it and was that much so that I finished the book in one sitting. My interest never wavered and I was constantly wanting to carry on reading so I could find out what was going to happen next. The plot was well-paced and nothing seemed out of place. Our characters are put in many dangerous situations that have you sitting on the edge of your seat and praying that they make it through. I think the fast-paced atmosphere helped me finish this book in one sitting and I don’t regret it one single bit.
Olia was a character that I admired from the start. She’s brave and selfless and is always putting her family first. Her pure love for her baby sister melted my heart and it was heart-warming to see a strong sibling bond in a book like this. Her closeness and love for her family, I feel did influence some of her decisions throughout the story and this, in turn, helped her grow and become a stronger person come to the end. The friends she meets throughout her journey also helped her grow and I enjoyed seeing her relationships with them all blossom and turn into pure friendship.
The Castle of Tangled Magic was a beautiful read full of magic and one that I devoured. Sophie Anderson is slowly becoming one of my favourite middle-grade authors and I, for one, cannot wait to read what she writes next.