The Twins of Tintarfell (James O’Loghlin, Pan)
The Twins of Tintarfell is James O’Loghlin’s third novel for kids following The Adventures of Sir Roderick, The Not-Very Brave (2014) and Daisy Malone and the Blue Glowing Stone (2015). It is aimed at the same 8- to 10-year-old age group, but with appeal for older readers as well. And, like the other two, this book is charming and full of complex, interesting characters. Game of Thrones fans might be surprised to learn that the book is not a parody, despite the title castle’s similarity in name to Winterfell! The twins of the title are Dani and Bart, who are essentially slaves of the royal family of Cranlon. When Bart and Dani are forced to spend time with the timorous Prince Edward, and Edward convinces Bart to impersonate him to impress his father the King, calamity can only ensue. The relationships between the three young people are multifaceted and well-written, and the plot is absorbing enough that even reluctant readers will want to find out what happens next. Internally, the three protagonists each of have a journey of self-discovery and sacrifice as they go out into the world beyond the castle walls. There’s no clear hero in this tale of young people facing their own fears and doubts, which is what makes it such a nuanced and insightful (and fun!) story.
Hannah Cartmel is a freelance editor, Small Press Network committee member and co-founder of the Rag & Bone Man Press