Review: Castle of Sighs by Jennifer Murgia

Monday, September 28, 2015

Forest of Whispers #2
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley in exhange for an honest review

Summary (from Goodreads):

Some secrets cannot be kept—in life or in death.
Months have passed since Rune has heard a single whisper from her long-dead mother, the great witch of Bavaria. But the absence of one evil has only made room for another.
After rightfully inheriting her ancestral home, Pyrmont Castle, Rune settles into a quiet life taking care of two orphans left in the wake of the terrible witch hunt that claimed dozens of lives in the nearby village. As the days grow colder, the castle’s secrets beckon and Rune finds herself roaming where no one has set foot in a long time. In the bowels of the fortress is a locked room full of memories that hang like cobwebs—shelves stacked with jars, strange specimens, putrid liquids, and scrolls of spells. Rune is undeniably drawn to what she finds there, and she begins to dabble in the possibilities of magic, hoping to find a cure for the strangeness overwhelming the castle.
As secrets unspool, the delicate thread of Rune’s world is threatened when she realizes the key may lie in the dark forest she once called home and the boy she thought she knew.

First of all, I want to say that I never realized that this was the second book in a series. That would greatly explain why I was so confused for a lot of this book. I feel like if the great evil mentioned in the synopsis was at all mentioned in the first book, it was not recapped well in the second book. That is the only thing that I never felt like I could wrap my head around.

Rune has recently inherited Pyrmont Castle, the home of all of her ancestors. She stays there with Laurentz who lives at Eltz Castle, which is just a short distance away, and two orphaned children that weren't claimed after their mothers were accused of being witches. Laurentz goes on a trip with his father, leaving Rune alone with the two children when strange things begin to happen in the castle. She discovers a room deep beneath the castle that appears to be a workshop where previous witches of the castle worked their magick. 

When Laurentz returns, they look through the room together and discover a grimoire. It contains the stories of all the witches of Pyrmont and the story of how a great evil was started with the birth of Rune's mother. Laurentz takes the children back to Eltz so that Rune can try to get to the bottom of the weird events going on at Pyrmont.

I didn't feel very strongly about many of the characters in this book, probably because I didn't know that there was a first book. I don't really know what to say about any of these characters at this point. I liked them, but I didn't love them. I thought Rune was a good character because she took care of those orphans as if they were her own children. She was brave to get to the bottom of what was going on in Pyrmont even though she was frightened. Laurentz was great for staying and being supportive during all of that!

There was romance in this book that obviously must have started in the first book! Knowing what I do, I'm glad that this book didn't have anything trying to tear them apart! They were there for each other through everything in this book and I did like that. They were a good fit and I liked their relationship!

The one biggest complaint I have is that I had NO idea what the evil was actually supposed to be? Even with the backstory you get about how it all began, I still had no idea what it was. 

Overall, I was kind of just confused during this book, but I really did like it. I didn't love it, but I ended up liking it. I will definitely be checking out the first book and probably rereading this one so I will fully know what is going on and can get the full effect of the series! If you like reading books about witches and magick, I think you will like this book, but definitely start with book one.

This one will take the historical fiction square!


  1. Ehhh, I can't see myself liking this one. Three stars and some confusion isn't good enough! And it's a sequel, nooo, series, blah. I like standalones these days. ;)

    Lovely review, Cyra!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I think that if I knew this was a sequel and had started from the beginning, I would have liked it! But yeah, standalones are pretty sweet! No waiting is always nice!


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