The Battle for the Castle is the second in a series by Elizabeth Winthrop. In the first book, The Castle in the Attic, William, the protagonist, gets a model castle with a little knight made of lead as a going-away present from his housekeeper. One day the knight, Sir Simon, comes alive and William finds out that the knight is on a quest to get his castle back from an evil wizard named Alastor. William helps the knight and they succeed.
In this second book, Willliam is turning 12. On his birthday, William receives a token in the mail from his housekeeper who has moved away to London. The token takes him inside the castle and he takes his best friend, Jason, with him. When they get to Sir Simon’s castle, they hear that there have been signs and rumors of an army of giant rats. The inhabitants of the castle think this because one day a ship came in full of just bones and they suspect the rats ate the crew. Another reason is that one day an old lady named Calendar went crazy and started saying things about a great danger coming to hurt them. To make this even worse, Sir Simon is going away to a jousting tournament, so that means if the rats come there will be no leader to protect them.
William and his friend, Gudrin, go and burn the mysterious death ship in the dead of night. They finally see that the rumors are true. Hundreds of huge rats, including an extra-huge rat, come out. William and Gudrin go back and warn the inhabitants of the castle that there is an army of giant rats coming. Soon, almost everybody leaves. The only people left to defend the castle are William, Jason, Gudrin, Gudrin’s uncle, and a guard named Brian. Whether they are able to defend the castle from the rats and how they go about it is what the book is about.
The plot is exciting and is a good combination of modern and medieval experiences. The book is a great read. I liked the part when William advances on the rat and deflects the rays of sunlight from his shield into the monster’s eyes. The monster disintergrates and just leaves a stain on the wall. The suspense is nervewracking. In one part the rats scratch on the door of the dungeon in which William and his friends are hiding. The door is really thick, but William and Gudrin know that the rats will eventually scratch through it, so they don’t have much time to defeat the rats before the sun sets and the rats are able to come close to the door.
Of the two books in the series so far, I liked Castle in the Attic better, but only by a slight margin. The Battle for the Castle is a fantastic story, but it only has one challenge, which is fighting the rats. In The Caste in the Attic, William has to overcome getting through a jungle, defeating a dragon, and then defeating the evil wizard, Alastor. However, both books are terrific and I hope to see one more in the series.
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