I read this book for The Deseret News. I wrote a great review, which had to be cut way down in order to make it into the special print edition of Halloween books. So I will share with you my original review. Because I thought it was pretty good.
Following a deadly attack, an innocent orphan boards a train to begin studying at a magical school set in a historic castle complete with mysterious teachers and a gentle groundskeeper. Upon arriving, this orphan quickly learns that nothing is as it seems and the world is full of magic and mystery as well as danger and evil.
Though the basic premise of this book sounds all too familiar, Blythewood magically stands on its own. Author Carol Goodman masterfully unveils a world of goblins, shape-shifting fairies, villains that exhale smoke, and black-winged angels that punctually come to the rescue time and again.
Blythewood is a young adult novel, and its language is clean and appropriate for a young audience. The love story is also clean and appropriate and will keep young female readers engaged, page after page. However, its size, just under 500 pages, may discourage some younger readers. Also, as Blythewood’s students are trained to fight evil creatures with bows and arrows, there is a little violence throughout the book, but it is not gory.
Many of Blythwood’s secrets are shared at the very end of the book. But, this ending is not a tidy wrap-up. An even larger story line emerges in the last few lines, leaving the reader with a hope that Carol Goodman will continue the journey with a new book. Soon.