The Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop: B

From the back cover:
As William turns twelve, he wonders if Jason is still his best friend. In the past year Jason has grown a foot taller while William is still a shrimp. When Jason challenges William to “jump the trains,” William is terrified. How else can he prove himself to Jason?

William has the chance when his former housekeeper sends him a magic token that once again takes him back to Sir Simon’s castle in the Middle Ages, this time with Jason. There they face a dangerous army of rats and their gigantic leader.

Once William was a hero in the castle. Now it’s up to him to destroy the rats and save the kingdom in the final battle for the castle.

As silly a plot as a dangerous army of rats is, this book was actually better than the first in the series. There’s still a Very Important Lesson to be learned (just because one has the sense not to do a clearly stupid thing does not mean that one is cowardly), but it was better handled than the last time, and the story didn’t seem to exist purely for the purpose of elucidating this message.

The character of Jason is interesting because he is so obnoxious, spurring some conflict between him and William. He’s like that clumsy friend you had who asked to hold your… I dunno, precious porcelain unicorn or something and then proceeded to dance around tossing it in the air, ignoring you while you keep telling him to give it back. The way he talks is very odd, though, and reminds me sooo much of a former piano student. He says stuff like, “Don’t worry, old buddy” or “Check out these babies!” I wonder if my student talked the way he did ‘cos he had read this book and made Jason his idol.

My main complaint is how stupid and incompetent the adults in the castle are made to appear. William and Jason end up coordinating defensive plans and giving instructions to guards and soldiers, and it was just too much for my suspension of disbelief.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind