Thursday, 19 April 2012

Graphic Novel Review: 'Castle Waiting' by Linda Medley

Misty at The Book Rat is currently hosting the awesome Fairy tale Fortnight so I got inspired to do my own fairy tale post!

Castle Waiting Vol.1 
by Linda Medley

Published: May 1st, 2006
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Genre: Graphic Novel
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 472

Cover Art: I LOVE the cover of this book. It is so fairy tale. It has a beautiful old-fashioned font and the crowd of misfits hanging out of a window. This book is printed on really thick paper and is bound in cloth so, again, it adds to the old fashioned, magical, parchment-y aspect of the book!

The Artwork Inside: The artwork is very clear and is all in crisp black and white. It is a cartoonish style with a lot of straight lines and easy to read speech bubbles:

Plot Synopsis

The 456-page Castle Waiting graphic novel tells the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, Castle Waiting is a fairy tale that's not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil — but about being a hero in your own home. 

The opening story tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on "Sleeping Beauty" when she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming. The castle becomes a refuge for misfits, outcasts, and others seeking sanctuary, playing host to a lively and colorful cast of characters that inhabits the subsequent stories, including a talking anthropomorphic horse, a mysteriously pregnant Lady on the run, and a bearded nun.

My Rating:


This book is so beautiful I just want to gaze at it instead of read it. I love it when a book has been carefully and thoughtfully put together, the binding, the page thickness, the page colour, the layout, the cover, the font, the chapter pages...every single one is absolutely perfect and gorgeous. It is exactly the way I wish I could read all fairy tales; in coffee stained cloth-covers with beautiful illustrations. Just having it on my bookshelf makes me happy. If you love graphic novels and fairy tales you need to own this book. SO PRETTY!

Anyway, book porn aside, the stories in this book are lovely. I wasn't overly impressed with the first 100 pages or so ,which is the story of how the castle came to be cursed. For me, the story was too simple and regurgitated almost exactly from 'Sleeping Beauty', which was disappointing as the author could have done a lot more with it to make it funnier or more interesting as she does in the rest of the book.

After the first section I absolutely loved the stories. There is a coziness about them that defies the normal fairy tale revisions which make them more gory and more scary; Castle Waiting does the opposite! No horrible surprises here. I loved the story of the nun who was crucified: it sounds depressing and violent but it is really beautiful and poignant. I love the abbey of bearded ladies- as many other reviewers have said, images such as these are pretty feminist in tone in the book. The whole book revolves around women and freeing women from oppressive situations, and involves a lot of androgynous characters. I loved that aspect but I felt it could have been even MORE feminist than it was and pushed it even more to really strike a chord.

Overall, a lovely read. I have the next volume so I will start on that soon! I didn't give it five stars merely for the disappointment of the first quarter of the book, and also because it was a little more childish than I anticipated. Still, I have high hopes for the next volume and really want to know why Jain's baby is green! 

Other Thoughts

This Book has Inspired me to Read: More Fairy Tales! ALL OF THEM!

Three Words to Describe this Book: Whimsical, Cosy, Magical.


  1. This one is new to me. I haven't read many graphic novels but I would really like to explore the genre.

  2. I don't read many graphic novels, but this one sounds good to me too! I love the idea of being a hero in your own home.

  3. I'm not sure that I've mentioned this, but I LOVE that you read so many graphic novels. Seriously. I'm a fan myself! Particularly fairy tale ones (yeah...Fables is one of my favorite things ever), I must check this out. I am a little hesitant, because I'm not a fan of black and white art in graphic novels. I wanted to be an inker as a kid (and still kinda do), so black and white just feels like it's missing something! I'll make sure that if I try this one, I push past 100 pages though. Great review, and yay for Fairy Tale Fortnight!

    1. Aww thanks- I also really like it when I see people reading and reviewing graphic novels as they are brilliant and underrated! I haven't read Fables yet but I remember from your favourite fairy tales post that you describe it as a must read so I am determined to try it! I can see why you're hesitant- personally I like black and white in comics like 'Sin City; but Castle Waiting definitely could've had some colour...I'm thinking something pastelly and princessy! Definite YAY for Fairy Tale Fortnight- so much good stuff to read! x

  4. Um, how did I miss that you reviewed Castle Waiting for FTF?!?! I ADORE these stories, and want very badly for there to be a 3rd volume. (I also want very badly for them to not be so damn expensive so I could but them...)
    Love these. So glad to see someone else reading them. :)

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