Castle in The Stars
By Alex Alice
Published By First Second
My glorious return after a 3 week hiatus. Castle in the Stars takes place at the height of the Victorian era, where along with Africa and Antarctica, the great leaders of Europe also have their eyes set on the stars. The main character is a boy by the name of Seraphin, whose mother tragically died in a attempt to find a magical macguffin called Aether, which is this fuel-like thing that can support interplanetary travel. If the book explained what it was, I didn't catch it on either of my readings. Anyways, After some period of time, his mother's log notes are found by (bare with me here) King Ludwig II, who invited him and his father (also an engineer) to his castle to create working space travel. Unfortunately they get wrapped up in a game of spies and espionage and must try to keep their findings out of the wrong hands.
I think I found a good first book in a series! Instead of using the book to dump exposition at you until you can't breath, it focuses on telling a good story now that can will easily flow into the second book. While this does mean that a few things were left vague, that didn't impact the story. The characters are a range. Some I really like. The 4 main characters are mostly good, and have good chemistry together. Seraphin and his father play off each other well, and the three friends who band together also complement each other, despite the very German character being a bit too stereotypical to work at times. The antagonists were a bit muddled. Their motivation was bizarre and I didn't fully grasp it. King Ludwig II was boring and edgy, but he didn't appear for too long so it didn't change much. The main thing that I really liked was the art. It was beautiful. I am a sucker for steampunk and Victorian architecture though. The characters are all identifiable and match their characters. Over all, I really liked this book.