The Autumn Castle.
ISBN: 044652381X $24.95 435 pp.
The Autumn Castle, first in the Europa series is a very fascinating urban fantasy from Australian author Kim Wilkins. I highly recommend this wonderfully imaginative series.
The Autumn Castle introduces use to a group of artist who are currently working under a fellowship which allows them to live at the Hotel Mandy Z. in Berlin, Germany. The fellowship is through a very eccentric artist, Immanuel Zweigler whom everyone calls Mandy Z. Jude, one of the artists, lives with his girlfriend, Christine Starlight. Christine is an American who lived in Berlin as a child. The artists are rounded out by Gerda, Pete, and Fabiyan.
Christine has had a very difficult life. While living in Berlin, she befriended a neighbor child everyone called little May. May and Christine were inseparable. One night, May disappeared and was presumed dead. Christine and her parents moved back to America shortly after May's disappearance. In 1989, she lost her parents in a horrific car accident that left her with horrid injuries. The car accident was caused by another driver who never even paused to see if anyone survived. Life was bleak for Christine until Jude appeared in her life like a knight in shinning armor.
Mandy Z. is a very complex and creepy man. He is a world renowned sculptor and is also color blind. Along with being incredibly wealthy, he is also an insane sociopath. He is secretly working on a bizarre sculpture he calls the Bone Wife. This sculpture is not made of marble or any other stone, but of fairy bones. Mandy Z. has a unique gift that allows him to know when a person is really a Fairy.
One fateful day, Christine injures herself and is transported to Ewigkreis, Fairyland. In this strange land, Christine encounters a talking fox named Eisengrimm and the Fairy Queen. Queen Mayfridh is Christine's childhood friend, May. As children, they preformed a 'blood bond' that allowed Christine to enter Ewigkreis. One characteristic of Fairyland is residents forget about humans and our world once the seasons change. Queen Mayfridh is amazed and intrigued to be reunited with her friend Christine. After Christine returns to the real world, Mayfridh longs for all she lost when she entered Ewigkreis. Soon a plan is hatched to allow Mayfridh to visit the world she left as a child.
The residents of Hotel Mandy Z. are on a collision course with Mayfridh. She brings out many dark secrets and tempts Mandy Z. to commit unspeakable acts. Mayfridh's visit brings all these horrors and more to pass. Christine, Jude, and the rest are never the same again.
Kim Wilkins has created an incredible tale of morality and madness to delight. Her characters are rich and multidimensional. The plot does seem to lag at times, but that is a result of dealing with character development. We get to know the residents of Hotel Mandy Z. and Ewigkreis very intimately. The twists and turns created in the plot are amazing in their ingenuity. This is not a typical Fairytale nor is it a typical fantasy. At the end, Wilkins treats us to a real Fairytale that closes the plot in such a way that you crave more.
Kim Wilkins lives in Australia and is the author of numerous books. Her Europa series continues with the Giants of the Frost--available in Australia, and the Snow Witch--to be released July, 2005 in Australia. For more information, visit her website at http://www.kimwilkins.com/
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|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2005|
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