LL Book Reviews:

By Jennifer Szoch on September 25, 2012

The Spy Kids meets The Mysterious Benedict Society

Brosz has an excellent young adult novel on his hands. In 475 pages, the world is rescued, action is sought, friends are made, and heroes are born. Though may be a bit lengthy for some students, those younger dedicated readers will not be able to put this book down.

Set in the mountains of a small town, Monte Vista, a castle looms out of the scenery as detailed descriptions describe this massive structure. Set on a three-acre spread of mansions, halls, outbuildings and scattered ruins, this story delves the tale of Katie and Zach Falcon and all that lie within their castle walls. Anyone reading Brosz’s novel immediately fantasizes about the vast castle and instantly becomes envious of the imagination and freedom our young protagonists have throughout their story.

Imagine living in a house so big that even if you had lived there your whole life you still would never have seen it all.

When we meet Katie and Zach Falcon there is an immediate sense that family life is not of the norm; anti-gravity rooms, strange behaviors, and Mrs. Falcon is not your every-day soccer mom. Katie and Zach have freedom within their castle perimeter, and are allowed outside those walls only on Saturday trips to town when both parents accompany them keeping a constant watch.

Within their beloved castle are underground mazes that connect their home to the mountain, however, within that mountain lies a prison, a temple, meant to keep whatever hellish fiend is within its walls from ever feeling the night air. Escaped once, the monster wreaked havoc on the neighboring towns and those unfortunate livestock and families caught in the path breathed their last. The prison lies open now, the doorway broken, but a guardian stays alert night and day protecting those outside from what lies beneath.

Life is full of exploring, studies and time with each other, for both Katie and Zach, until unexplained phenomenon begins to occur; when mysterious doors begin appearing around the castle, Katie and Zach become intrigued. The doors are guarded with the most sophisticated magic keeping them solid and impenetrable however with Katie’s intelligence, Zach’s wit, and their combined curiosity, breaking through the barriers is inevitable. Little do they know what those doors protect against.

Brosz’s imaginative ideas and creatures are the wonders that present themselves as allies to Katie and Zach. An eclectic cast of characters each with their own unique talents lend a hand, wing, or leg, to the children’s’ adventure; a card-playing dragon, an invisible lizard, a water snake and an introverted spider all play an intricate role in the saving of everything the children hold dear.

Amazing though they seem, the creatures are not without danger and suddenly the cozy, safe castle is not so comforting. Questions and secrets start to arise as Katie and Zach find more and more disturbing artifacts behind secret doors; mysterious jars holding beating hearts, and invisible monsters. An uncanny amount of magic is at work and the kids begin to question their safety and their parents. Are they really involved in murders? When a thousand year old story is told and the truth behind it is connected to the castle, Katie and Zach begin to unravel the truth behind not only their parents, but their own past.

Thus an epic adventure ensues where people are not who they seem, bedtime stories appear to be true, and secret agreements are arranged to find an ancient tome. But evil lurks outside of the protected castle taking many shapes and disguises. Katie and Zach soon learn that their beloved castle may not be the fortress they grew up believing it was.

A heroic quest within their own home will lead these children to discover more about themselves, their family and their destiny than they ever thought possible. After reading Castle Falcon, I must say I am seriously looking forward to a sequel and another adventure from Katie and Zach Falcon.

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