Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon
Reviewed by Sada Wright
Amazon Rating: 4.9/5
Content Warnings: None
When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail’s doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle’s minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn’t who she says she is.
Disclaimer: This book is not Young Adult. It is very much written for children. That being so, I love this book! The writing is simply delightful, and the characters even more so. There are pictures sprinkled throughout the book (every three pages or so) and you really get a feel for the characters and setting. I also loved the distinction made between Wicked and Evil. Wicked isn’t necessarily bad, and it doesn’t mean you can’t be nice.
Castle Hangnail is a character in its own right. With shabby shutters, a belfry full of bats, a few mentally challenged ravens, and cobwebs in every corner, the castle stole my heart away from chapter one. You can’t quite be certain where or when the story takes place, so your imagination can have a heyday!
A castle like that needs some crazy people to take care of upkeep and such. With a hypochondriac goldfish, a minotaur cook with a hatred of the letter Q, a talking suit of armor, and, of course, Molly, there is never a dull moment. Molly is very spunky and wicked, while still being absolutely charming. She really cares about the castle and its people, and she will do everything in her power to help them out.
Overall this is a very cute book that makes you smile at every turn. I would recommend it to anyone.