Saturday, November 18, 2017

The White Tower

34381534Constable, Cathryn. The White Tower
September 26th 2017 by Chicken House
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Livy has missed months of school because her best friend Mahalia died of leukemia. When her father is suddenly offered the librarian position at the prestigious Temple College in London, he is excited to take it, and glad that she will get a fresh start when she is accepted as a scholarship student. The family moves into the former librarian's house on the campus, and Livy gets a tiny room at the very top of the house, overlooking the stone Sentinels that guard the campus. Since the family's last name is Burgess, and Peter Burgess was the founder of the school many years ago, there is some thought that they are descendants. Livy has a hard time at her new school; the new uniform blazer was so expensive that her mother bought a bigger one so she could "grow into it", she misses Mahalia, and two mean girls make fun of her and even try to dissuade their nice friend, Celia, to be mean to Livy as well. Livy does get to know curious fellow student Alex a bit, because he studies a lot in the library. Her young brother Tom imagines he sees "Count Zacha" on the roof, and soon Livy is seeing people on roof as well, and gets thrown into an investigation that involves alchemy, the former librarian, head mistress, and students from the very founding of the school.
Strengths: The world building in this was fantastic; I immediately wanted to go to Temple College and be their librarian, especially if I could live near the school! The mystery involving the founder is fairly strong, and the characters are all well developed and intriguing.
Weaknesses: Livy's grief is palpable to a very soggy extent, and she is portrayed as the sort of quiet student who struggles to have friends because she is so introverted. Also, there should have been MUCH more actual flying in this, and there just wasn't enough.
What I really think: While The Wolf Princess has circulated well in my library, I may pass on this. It wasn't quite the book I expected it to be, and I think readers who pick it up will also expect more action and adventure than there is.

Ms. Yingling

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