Author: Tsujimura Mizuki
Publication Date: 22 April 2021
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: YA / Fantasy
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Seven students are avoiding going to school, hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends, until the moment they discover a portal into another world that offers temporary escape from their stressful lives. Passing through a glowing mirror, they gather in a magnifcent castle which becomes their playground and refuge during school hours. The students are tasked with locating a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will allow whoever finds it to be granted one wish. At this moment, the castle will vanish, along with all memories they may have of their adventure. If they fail to leave the castle by 5 pm every afternoon, they will be eaten by the keeper of the castle, an easily provoked and shrill creature named the Wolf Queen.
Delving into their emotional lives with sympathy and a generous warmth, Lonely Castle in the Mirror shows the unexpected rewards of reaching out to others. Exploring vivid human stories with a twisty and puzzle-like plot, this heart-warming novel is full of joy and hope for anyone touched by sadness and vulnerability.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a book my Japanese friend mentioned to me a couple of months ago. She's not a big reader, but she said she liked this one, so when I saw it available for request on NetGalley, I knew I had to give it a try. I wasn't disappointed. This is an amazing, imaginative work that also tackles deep issues of mental health among schoolchildren in Japan. The story and characters captivated me from start to finish, and there were plenty of twists and turns along the way. This is a book I think it would be interesting to reread, to see if I pick up any additional clues earlier in the story, now that I know the eventual outcome. Highly recommended for fans of contemporary Japanese literature as well as readers interested in thoughtful, sensitive novels featuring deeper topics and social commentary.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.