Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The 450+ page beautiful hardcover collection of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting exceeded my high expectations. That doesn't happen too often. The story, a truly feminist fairy tale, is about a group of ecclectic characters who live together in an abandoned old castle that was once under a witch's curse. The focus of the story, once the just-as-interesting prologue material is out of the way, is a pregnant woman who comes to the castle for sanctuary. In a magical world where humans and animal people live amongst each other peacefully, piksies and brownies cause mischief, and demons trick the unsuspecting out of their souls, a group of strangers share their stories, meet hostility head-on and become a family. Castle Waiting is a wonderful all-ages story that begs comparison to Jeff Smith's Bone. And it's really at that level. I was debating for awhile which of the two I liked better, but in the end I think Smith is a better cartoonist, although Medley's art is beautiful as well. One of my biggest complaints about the story is that the "Solicitine" storyline that the book ends on took up over a third of the book, and I really would have rather spent more time with the characters at Castle Waiting than in a story related by Sister Peace. It was a good story, but I kept waiting for it to be over so I could get back to the other characters that I really enjoyed spending time with. But it kind of ends abruptly with the story's conclusion, and we don't really get to say goodbye to the other characters, let alone feel any sense of closure with them. However, Castle Waiting is continuing, so there'll be plenty of time to flush out those other characters and give a satisfying conclusion to the goings-on at the castle. This is a wonderful first volume of the world of Castle Waiting, full of laughs and high adventure. I highly recommend this. If anyone out there likes Bone at all, there's really no excuse not to get this. It truly captures the feel of a fairy tale, without the typical tropes associated with them. Really, it's a marvel.