The kingdom of Starcastle has twin princesses, who have been separated at birth to prevent an ancient profecy from coming true. Armada living at Starcastle is, however, not a bit superstitious, but every bit strong headed. When she learns that she has a sister, she schemes Elena to her from the far away Finland, without any regard to the profecy. Elena is introduced to a whole new world, with sgnomes, eeckies, yackierolls, laughing hoggohoggos and other strange creatures (the names translated by me from the original Finnish text).
Author: Hanna van der Steen
Publisher: Karisto, 2011, Finland
Category: MG fantasy
Original language: Finnish
The introduction to Starcastle’s wonders turns sinister when the magic birthday number 13 is getting closer for the sisters. What is that awful roaring, coming under the castle?
Hanna van der Steen has created an incredible magical world with creatures that are original and defy all conventional fantasy norms. There are delicious characters from the sisters to Orvokki granny/nanny, the court witch, and Armada’s pet unicorn Reino (who really looks a lot like a cow with one horn). It is a story of growing up, entering a new world, dealing with family and sisters and conquering one’s fears.
As is suitable to middle grade readers and quite refreshing after the dystopia trend, this series is very much on the happy side. There are problems and conflicts, but they are solved and the world van der Steen has created is bound to bring a smile on one’s face. The trilogy is very popular among its main target group: 10 to 12-year-old girls. It is a thick book, but the chapters are short – sometimes just one page. This would be an optimal introduction to fantasy genre to anyone devouring books.
I’m sure I’m going to read the trilogy through to enjoy fully the humorous world and characters Hanna van der Steen has created.