Title : Lonely Castle In The Mirror
Author : Mizuki Tsujimura
Publisher : Penguin/Doubleday
Pages : 400
Genre : Fantasy/magical realism
Seven students are avoiding going to school, hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends, until the moment they discover a portal into another world that offers temporary escape from their stressful lives. Passing through a glowing mirror, they gather in a magnifcent castle which becomes their playground and refuge during school hours. The students are tasked with locating a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will allow whoever finds it to be granted one wish. At this moment, the castle will vanish, along with all memories they may have of their adventure. If they fail to leave the castle by 5 pm every afternoon, they will be eaten by the keeper of the castle, an easily provoked and shrill creature named the Wolf Queen.
Do you ever get the feeling that you’re gonna love a book even before reading it? I do, and this one is just the perfect example.
When I first discovered Lonely Castle In The Mirror, I knew straightaway that it was written for me. It instantly belonged to me in ways one belongs to the Universe. I didn’t bother checking the reviews. I didn’t have to.
This book is a feeling. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a book at all. It feels like a hug. A warm hug in a stormy, chilly night. Don’t forget hot cocoa.
I don’t know if I disliked any character. Yeah okay, may be a few (because they deserved it) but the rest? Aw my little munchkins! Found family has never been better! I loved how the story has been narrated from the view point of Kokoro. She has been the perfect neutral centre. Everything’s not about her, yet she keeps things together. She is timid, yet she’s so brave. She’s a loner, yet such a good friend.
This story is so wholesome that by the end of it, you’re gonna be full. Full with love, warmth, longing and content. The magical realism imbibed a whole new mood, and though it wasn’t the only highlight, it was definitely one of the cherries in the top. In fact, it was the backbone of the story.
Kokoro, Rion, Aki, Masamune, Subaru, Ureshino, Fuka, you’ll find a friend in each and every one of them and letting go is gonna be so so hard. The best thing is, the story’s not just character driven. The plot would make your mind go la la la! Trust me, if you think you’ve figured it out, well you actually haven’t. The climax will throw you off your chair and the surprise continues on to the very epilogue. If you read one book this year, let it be this.