Uncategorized: book review edward eaton fantasy J.A. Beard rosi's castle young adult
by J.A. Beard
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Children never truly know their parents. Adult concerns and obligations are often kept hidden from young people. When those obligations and parental legacies will later fall upon the children, an untimely death can make the situation worse than the parents imagined. Such is the case in the young adult fantasy Rosi’s Castle by Edward Eaton.
Teenage orphan Rosi Carol is sent to live with her uncle at his rather spooky estate in New England. Upon arrival, all sorts of strange and seemingly supernatural encounters descend upon her, along with memory gaps. It’s more than to frighten the girl and make her question herself.
The book takes good advantage of the New England coastal setting. Weather and geography is well-used to build tension in individual scenes, and the disconcerting potential of laconic small-town folk who don’t trust outsiders enhances the plot. One of the keys in this sort of young adult work is successfully removing the protagonist’s support networks to allow them to proceed on their own in a logical way. This aspect is well-executed. As various allies and potential foes swirl around Rosi, it’s hard to tell who is trustworthy.
That limitation is heightened in this story because Rosi’s own perceptions and memories aren’t always trustworthy, either. Most of these secondary characters receive decent, though not outstanding character development, but they are all distinct. Rosi comes off a bit younger in both thought process and maturity than her age would initially suggest, but she does have a nice development arc throughout the story.
The central plot has a number of interesting elements. Even though certain aspects of what is going on seem obvious, there are several twists and turns that provide surprises, along with conflicting information provided by the aforementioned allies and foes that keeps the reader guessing without feeling like unfair misdirection. These various plot elements and the revelations toward the end of the book do a good job of establishing sequel potential while capping a complete story.
Though the plot elements are interesting and many individual scenes have good dramatic tension, the basic central plot tension isn’t as strong as it could be. The mystery was definitely enough to keep me engaged, but despite the various supernatural goings-on, I didn’t really feel the risk to Rosi and for various plot reasons she often proceeds without really feeling the risk either dampening the overall tension.
Overall though, Rosi’s Castle was an enjoyable young adult fantasy and a good start to what looks to be an interesting trilogy.