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The Castle of Tangled Magic

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe... When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power. Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself - to save everything and everyone she loves. The new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

I have loved everything I have read by Sophie Anderson so far so it was with a mix of excitement and apprehension that I read ‘The Castle of Tangled Magic’. The apprehension was due to the worry that this book wouldn’t be up to the high standards of ‘The House with Chicken Legs’ and ‘The Girl who Speaks Bear’ but I was delighted and relieved to find out that it is. This is a wonderful book, full of magic and friendship and it took me into a world of spirits that was fascinating.

Sophie’s books are always rooted in folklore, it is one of the things that I love about them and ‘The Castle of Tangled Magic’ didn’t disappoint in this respect. I was introduced to the world of Slavic Spirits, some of whom I wasn’t aware of before and all interpreted in wonderful ways that brings them to a modern audience. I was also delighted by the nods to previous books and characters within this book. Any fan of Sophie Anderson will smile when they see what I am referring to.

A signature of Sophie Anderson’s writing so far has been the strong female protagonists and this book carries on with that theme. Olia is a wonderful character who I am sure many will be able to relate to. The message that comes through loud and clear whilst following her adventures is to ‘be brave’ and to ‘take risks’. There are some wonderfully positive messages given in the book about it being ok to make mistakes, we deal with them and learn from them.

The host of characters that accompany Olia on her adventures are just as engaging and I as a reader became invested in their stories. Feliks the Domavoi house spirit in particular was a character I loved and served to remind me of the power of loyalty and family and friendship.

There are common themes in all of Sophie’s book of family, friendship, bravery and they are revisited in this book. On a deeper level there is a theme of the relationship humans have with nature and the natural world in this book as well-although that might be my English degree training making me over analyse things!

One of the things I love about this book is that the story grips you and carries you along but doesn’t always take you to familiar places. What you expect to happen doesn’t always work out that way, and I like a story that surprises you. Olia’s adventures into a magical land have a sense of urgency and impending doom which leaves the reader wanting to follow her and her companions on their quest to save the day.

I would recommend this book to any KS2 reader, but probably more suited to Y4 onward. The message in the book is about empowerment and believing in yourself, it is an engaging and positive read.

The book is available from early October but you can pre-order it now.

Here are a few links:

Or if you want a signed copy you can get one here:

And if you want to support Sophie's local independent book shop get one here:

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