I have been quite impressed by the middle grade I've read this month. Upon finishing, I was just kinda stunned. I was not expecting this. This was way better than I thought it'd be
Sometimes middle-grade feels really juvenile, but this was not at all the case in The Castle Behind Thorns. The anger and sadness Perrotte feels about what happened to her added a layer of darkness and matureness I was not expecting. Unexpected but awesome. This book raises some interesting questions about forgiveness, which I liked. Making the reader ponder a moral dilemma helped with the whole "more mature thing". This doesn't mean the material is unsuitable for younger readers of course. I'm just saying it will make the book more enjoyable for older readers such as myself (although I'm not that much older than the intended age group. I'm almost 16).
Also, I like that there's no romance! The emphasis is on the friendship between Perrotte and Sand.
Just a few minor complaints. For one, sometimes the world-building is a little unclear. Also, I was never quite sure how or why Perrotte came back to life. Or was she ever really dead? I'm a little confused. I feel like this could use a sequel, to wrap up those loose ends.
Tl;dr version- Surprisingly good for a middle-grade novel, despite a few minor flaws. This was an awesome surprise.