Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist (Emily Windsnap Series #3)

Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist (Emily Windsnap Series #3)

4.6 158
by Liz Kessler, Natacha Ledwidge
     
 

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Dive in! The latest fin-tastic tale about a feisty half-mermaid introduces a mysterious boy who shares her fate.

When Emily Windsnap discovers an old diamond ring during a class hunt for trinkets, how is she supposed to know that the ring is half the key to unlocking an ancient curse by Neptune himself? Now, with the ring stuck firmly on her hand, Emily finds

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Overview

Dive in! The latest fin-tastic tale about a feisty half-mermaid introduces a mysterious boy who shares her fate.

When Emily Windsnap discovers an old diamond ring during a class hunt for trinkets, how is she supposed to know that the ring is half the key to unlocking an ancient curse by Neptune himself? Now, with the ring stuck firmly on her hand, Emily finds herself under a new curse: in just a few days, she’ll cease to be half-human and half-mermaid and must say good-bye to one parent forever. Can she possibly find the other missing ring that will break all the curses? Is there anyone who can help her — before it’s too late?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
It is hard being half-mermaid and half-human, as Emily Windsnap knows all too well. Her parents have recently reunited, but are having trouble reconciling their different worlds. Emily's mother worries that all Emily learns at mermaid school are things like hair braiding and nothing like mathematics. But when Emily finds a mysterious ring, her troubles have just begun. The ring once belonged to King Neptune and he wants it back. The ring, however, cannot be removed, so King Neptune curses Emily to be neither human nor mermaid. Emily must find another ring to break the curse and return her body to its natural state. With the help from some old friends and some new faces, Emily seeks the ring that holds her fate and the fate of all half-human, half-mer people. The story is a strange mix of whimsical and serious fantasy that does not entirely work. Kessler tries for a deeper social commentary, but the outcome is so predictable that her lesson gets lost in the cliche. Still, Emily is an entertaining figure, and the threat to her way of life will keep the reader hooked to the end.
VOYA - Angela Carstensen
In this third installment of the series about twelve-year-old Emily, Neptune has allowed merfolk and humans to live in harmony. Emily is ecstatic to be living with both her merman father and her human mother. Emily herself is a mix-human on land and mermaid at sea. But these days her parents seem to argue constantly. Emily is terrified that they will separate again and that she will have to choose between them. The real trouble begins when Emily finds a diamond ring at the bottom of the ocean. Neptune wants the ring, and when she is unable to take it off her finger, he puts a curse on her. If she does not hand it over before the next full moon, she will lose the ability to change form. Then a storm conjured by Neptune's rage strands Emily and her best friend, Shona, alone in the middle of the ocean. The story really takes off when Emily decides to explore a mysterious castle visible in the distance. There she meets a boy desperate to save his family, encounters an ancient mystery, and learns a secret from Neptune's past. This quick read is light and charming but also heartfelt. Emily's overactive imagination and excessive worry about her parent's marriage ring true for a girl her age. After many anxious moments, the fairy-tale ending will satisfy the target audience, especially those who have enjoyed the previous two books in the series.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6
Half-human/half-mermaid Emily should be happy. She's living with her recently reunited parents (a human mother and merman father), she has a best friend, and she loves her new school. Still, this third book in the series finds her preoccupied with her parents' escalating bickering. After awakening King Neptune's fearsome monster in book two, Emily has vowed to stay out of trouble, but that is exactly what she finds in a magic ring from the ocean floor. When the king finds out that she has hidden it from him, he is furious and puts a curse on her: at the next full moon, she will become all human or all mermaid, whichever he chooses. So begins an adventure that takes the girl to a secret castle where she learns that she may not be as unique as she previously thought. Kessler combines the whimsy of life as a mermaid with the problems of an average middle-schooler. She keeps the story moving, with each chapter posing a new problem. Plenty of dialogue and Ledwidge's soft, dreamlike line drawings add textual and visual interest, making for a zippy story in an attractive package. Fans of mermaids and things that sparkle are the likely audience for this light fantasy.
—Adrienne FurnessCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Back for a third adventure, Emily Windsnap, half-human/half-mermaid, has settled into life with both parents on and around Allpoints Island, where she's found a new best friend, Shona, a mermaid "all girly and sparkly, with shiny long blond hair." But her parents' arguments worry her. Perhaps they are planning to split up. On a class trip she finds a diamond ring King Neptune wants, but it won't come off her hand. Neptune's angry response is to send her far away where she finds a castle inhabited by a dark-haired, green-eyed boy, a semi-mer like herself. Together, the three young people find the ring's missing counterpart, undoing a 500-year-old curse and making possible peace between humans and merfolk-including her own parents. The improbable plot is told in first person, quickly paced and supported by plenty of descriptive detail about the appearance of the characters and the colorful underwater life. This should be an easy sell to girls looking for a friendship story with more than a touch of make believe. (Fiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher
Be careful," Shona whispered as she waved me off from the porthole. "And good luck."

"You too," I said with a hopeful smile. "See you soon."

"You're sure you don't want me to come with you?"

"I'm sure," I said. We'd agreed I had to go straight back to the castle and tell Aaron the news about tonight. There was no time to lose. Shona was going to stay behind and fend Millie off if she came looking for us.
Thankfully, she'd become so absorbed in her dowsing that she wouldn't notice anything for a while. I wouldn't have long, though. The last thing I wanted was for her to worry about me, on top of everything else. Or to keep a closer eye on me and stop me from going out tonight. That was unthinkable! I'd just have to be careful - and quick.

I swam off in the same direction, listened to the ring in the same way, sneaked into the tunnel, and finally came up in the pool in the castle's cellar. I pulled myself out of the water and sat on the side to get my breath back. Panting and exhausted, I wondered how many more times I'd be able to swim here. My body was getting weaker by the hour. My tail was getting more patchy, my breathing more scratchy. Just one more day. Please let me hold out for one more day.

A noise creaked behind me. I leaped to my feet.

"Emily!" It was Aaron! He was still dressed all in black, and his hair was tied back in a sleek ponytail; his face shone pale and clear in the semidarkness of the cellar. His smile was the brightest thing on him. "I've been hanging around here since you left," he said, softly closing the door behind him. "I was hoping you'd come back."

"I said I would." I smiled back, almost surprised at how pleased I was to see him.

Aaron took a step nearer the pool, and that's when I noticed something. His feet - they were webbed. Of course they were. He was descended from Aurora, which meant the curse affected him too. Like me, he was stuck between the two worlds, neither fully one thing nor another. More like me at the moment than ever, as he wasn't quite a semi-mer either. The brief silence that fell between us wasn't awkward. It was the silence between two people who know they understand each other without even using words. It was almost like the way I felt with Shona.

He noticed me looking and shyly held out a hand. "Come on, let me help you out of the pool," he said. This time he didn't snatch his hand away. He held it out palm up, fingers outstretched. Showing me. His hands were webbed too, his fingers joined at the knuckle by the thinnest waferlike stretches of skin. As I reached up to grab his hand, it was as though we were shaking on a deal. We were the same. Whatever happened from here onward, we would succeed or fail together.

We sat on the side of the pool. Aaron stared as my tail melted away and my legs re-formed.

"I can't even do that properly," he said. "My legs stick together and my toes flap about a bit, but that's all." He looked at me wistfully. "Just as it's been for the rest of my family, every generation."

"Aaron, we can change it," I said. "That's what I've come to tell you. Tonight's the spring equinox. And the full moon - it's at midnight!"

Aaron's eyes widened. "Tonight? This is the year? How do you know? The secrecy, the magic!"

I told him about Millie and the Orphalese Oracle. I didn't mention the fact that Millie didn't always get it exactly right. She had to be right this time. She had to be.

"I don't believe it," Aaron said again and again. "I don't believe it. Every spring equinox since I've known about it, I've hoped and wished. I've even searched for the ring myself and prayed the other one would somehow turn up."

"I can't believe I ended up here," I said, looking at the ring on my finger and smiling. I could feel its warmth smile back at me. "I know I've had a few lucky breaks in my life, among all the crazy stuff! But surely that's about as much of a coincidence as you can get."

Aaron shook his head. "It's not a coincidence at all," he said. "The ring brought you here."

"Brought me to the castle?"

"The rings were meant to be together. When one is worn by a semi-mer, it wants to find the other one. While buried, the rings have no power. But when they are free, they want to be together. They're meant to be together. Its own heart brought you here."

We fell silent, lost in our own thoughts, and maybe in our own hopes. "Now we just have to find the pearl ring," he said after a while.

"Not just find it. We have to find it and bring the two rings together under the full moon. It'll be too late after that. As soon as the full moon's passed, I won't be a semi-mer. I'll lose the ring again."

"And if we fail . . ." Aaron looked away as his voice failed.

"I lose a parent," I said.

"So do I, Emily," he said, his voice hardening.

_______

EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE CASTLE IN THE MIST by Liz Kessler. Copyright © 2007 by Liz Kessler. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763660178
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
04/10/2012
Series:
Emily Windsnap Series, #3
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
59,386
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.56(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Be careful," Shona whispered as she waved me off from the porthole. "And good luck."

"You too," I said with a hopeful smile. "See you soon."

"You're sure you don't want me to come with you?"

"I'm sure," I said. We'd agreed I had to go straight back to the castle and tell Aaron the news about tonight. There was no time to lose. Shona was going to stay behind and fend Millie off if she came looking for us.

Thankfully, she'd become so absorbed in her dowsing that she wouldn't notice anything for a while. I wouldn't have long, though. The last thing I wanted was for her to worry about me, on top of everything else. Or to keep a closer eye on me and stop me from going out tonight. That was unthinkable! I'd just have to be careful - and quick.

I swam off in the same direction, listened to the ring in the same way, sneaked into the tunnel, and finally came up in the pool in the castle's cellar. I pulled myself out of the water and sat on the side to get my breath back. Panting and exhausted, I wondered how many more times I'd be able to swim here. My body was getting weaker by the hour. My tail was getting more patchy, my breathing more scratchy. Just one more day. Please let me hold out for one more day.

A noise creaked behind me. I leaped to my feet.

"Emily!" It was Aaron! He was still dressed all in black, and his hair was tied back in a sleek ponytail; his face shone pale and clear in the semidarkness of the cellar. His smile was the brightest thing on him. "I've been hanging around here since you left," he said, softly closing the door behind him. "I was hoping you'd come back."

"I said I would." I smiled back, almost surprised at how pleased I was to see him.

Aaron took a step nearer the pool, and that's when I noticed something. His feet - they were webbed. Of course they were. He was descended from Aurora, which meant the curse affected him too. Like me, he was stuck between the two worlds, neither fully one thing nor another. More like me at the moment than ever, as he wasn't quite a semi-mer either. The brief silence that fell between us wasn't awkward. It was the silence between two people who know they understand each other without even using words. It was almost like the way I felt with Shona.

He noticed me looking and shyly held out a hand. "Come on, let me help you out of the pool," he said. This time he didn't snatch his hand away. He held it out palm up, fingers outstretched. Showing me. His hands were webbed too, his fingers joined at the knuckle by the thinnest waferlike stretches of skin. As I reached up to grab his hand, it was as though we were shaking on a deal. We were the same. Whatever happened from here onward, we would succeed or fail together.

We sat on the side of the pool. Aaron stared as my tail melted away and my legs re-formed.

"I can't even do that properly," he said. "My legs stick together and my toes flap about a bit, but that's all." He looked at me wistfully. "Just as it's been for the rest of my family, every generation."

"Aaron, we can change it," I said. "That's what I've come to tell you. Tonight's the spring equinox. And the full moon - it's at midnight!"

Aaron's eyes widened. "Tonight? This is the year? How do you know? The secrecy, the magic!"

I told him about Millie and the Orphalese Oracle. I didn't mention the fact that Millie didn't always get it exactly right. She had to be right this time. She had to be.

"I don't believe it," Aaron said again and again. "I don't believe it. Every spring equinox since I've known about it, I've hoped and wished. I've even searched for the ring myself and prayed the other one would somehow turn up."

"I can't believe I ended up here," I said, looking at the ring on my finger and smiling. I could feel its warmth smile back at me. "I know I've had a few lucky breaks in my life, among all the crazy stuff! But surely that's about as much of a coincidence as you can get."

Aaron shook his head. "It's not a coincidence at all," he said. "The ring brought you here."

"Brought me to the castle?"

"The rings were meant to be together. When one is worn by a semi-mer, it wants to find the other one. While buried, the rings have no power. But when they are free, they want to be together. They're meant to be together. Its own heart brought you here."

We fell silent, lost in our own thoughts, and maybe in our own hopes. "Now we just have to find the pearl ring," he said after a while.

"Not just find it. We have to find it and bring the two rings together under the full moon. It'll be too late after that. As soon as the full moon's passed, I won't be a semi-mer. I'll lose the ring again."

"And if we fail . . ." Aaron looked away as his voice failed.

"I lose a parent," I said.

"So do I, Emily," he said, his voice hardening.

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