CASTLE HANGNAIL by Ursula Vernon
Kirkus Star


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 16
Email this review


Castle Hangnail is in desperate need of a new Master; 12-year-old budding Wicked Witch Molly might be just the person to fill the position.

The crumbling castle is in real danger of being decommissioned, and the resident minions fear the loss of their longtime home. It’s fairly easy to overlook the fact that the short, rather kindly girl in the witchy boots seems a somewhat unusual candidate for the job. That might just be because she stole the invitation to apply from a nasty young sorceress and is, therefore, something of a fraud. In a droll, ironic style that fans of Terry Pratchett will appreciate, Vernon (Dragonbreath, 2012, etc.) creatively—even joyfully—explores the well-worn trope of young teen witchcraft. Molly, fiercely defensive of her new home and loyal followers, is just beginning to understand the nature of her power. Her successes are engaging, hard-won and fully believable. Characters as unusual as a steaming teapot spirit, mother-and-son Minotaurs who ably manage the castle kitchen, a near-empty suit of armor, a Frankenstein-like castle manager and a lively stuffed doll that does all the sewing come fully, sometimes hilariously to life. Illustrations liberally sprinkled throughout add yet another satisfying dimension.

An appealing protagonist, lots of action, clever, witty writing, witchcraft and evildoers who get nothing but what they deserve—what’s not to love? (Fantasy. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 21st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8037-4129-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2015


ChildrenRATPUNZEL by Ursula Vernon
by Ursula Vernon
ChildrenOF MICE AND MAGIC by Ursula Vernon
by Ursula Vernon
ChildrenHARRIET THE INVINCIBLE by Ursula Vernon
by Ursula Vernon


ChildrenTHE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan
by Rick Riordan
ChildrenNOT JUST A WITCH by Eva Ibbotson
by Eva Ibbotson
ChildrenTHE WEE FREE MEN by Terry Pratchett
by Terry Pratchett