Saturday, December 31, 2016

Castle by David Macaulay

David Macaulay is a British writer and illustrator who specializes in architecture and history. I remember I used to force my poor, beleaguered parents to sit through Pyramid (1988) with me, over and over and over. (Pyramid is excellent, by the way; if you ever happen upon a copy of it, you must watch it.) He also did another child-focused documentary called Castle, which I wasn't as interested in: this girl favored Egyptians over European feudalism & crusades, thank you very much.

Now that I've gotten into fantasy novels and bodice rippers, CASTLE suddenly feels much more relevant. Imagine my delight when I find out that my library has a copy of it in their e-book library. I checked it out immediately.

CASTLE is an account of a fictional Welsh castle called Aberwyvern. While the castle itself may be purely make-believe, the descriptions of how it was built were not. Macaulay goes into all the steps of building a castle, from the outer wall to the fortifications to the construction of the bathrooms. He includes helpful illustrations, maps, and blueprints to illustrate more complex and detailed concepts.

I loved how informative this book is. Even though it's a children's book, Macaulay uses many difficult terms, so I'm not actually sure how child-friendly this book is, or whether a child would actually have any interest in it beyond using it as a secondary resource for a history project. For an adult who loves fantasy or historical romance, it's quite useful in providing a visual concept for how many of your favorite fictional settings might have looked. If you do choose to purchase this book, though, don't go with the ebook. I read this in EPUB and many of the images were cut off halfway, which spoiled the overall effect of the book. Splurge and get the hard copy - you'll be glad you did!

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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