February 20, 2014

The Twistrose Key - Tone Almhjell

The Twistrose Key Tone Almhjell book cover
The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you, Penguin!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world. (from Goodreads)

I will admit that The Twistrose Key and I didn't start off on the right foot. The first couple of chapters felt a teensy bit forced; I nearly gave up on it then and there. But once Lin enters the world of Sylver, things certainly start to pick up. The end result is an adventure that takes readers through a few different worlds, replete with villains and friends and quests to fulfill.

This novel is very inventive. Even though I'm sure the elements in it have been imagined in some form or fashion, there was still something distinctly unique about them. The concept of Sylver itself, for instance, and how the animals that live in it are those beloved by children in the real world, was pretty clever! There are other aspects -- eternal winter, magic, legends -- that make up this wonderful story the I really enjoyed.

Honestly, the plot of this one is typical of most fantasies: the heroine goes on an adventure to accomplish a task set to her before a certain deadline. What makes it unique is the setting (a land of eternal winter), the characters (they're all intelligent animals) and even the lore behind it all (magic that has to do with frost and flame). Even though I've encountered similar stories before, I still happily read along, curious to see how it would resolve itself in this book.

The Twistrose Key is certainly meant for younger readers, but it's pretty much a romp that older readers might enjoy too. It paints a vivid picture of a world that one can only imagine! Since the story is set in a place with eternal winter, I actually also love that I read this during the winter season. If you're looking for something magical and inventive and fun to imagine, this novel might be a good choice - if you can be patient about the beginning.


  1. Great review! Hmm, I've never heard of this book, but it sounds interesting. Eternal winter? Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad one, lol

  2. This winter is certainly feeling eternal! I have had this book for a while; I really need to read it!

  3. Strangely, when it comes to fantasies, I don't really mind familiar storylines. As long as the world-building and characters are intriguing enough, I can enjoy books like this every time. I'm glad you liked it overall, despite the shaky start. :)

  4. Um, I'm pretty sure this is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe minus 3 kids. And I'm perfectly okay with that! Sounds like a good one to me!

  5. Hmm an inventive land of eternal winter? Im so sold! Glad I decided to pick up a copy of this!


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