Castle Waiting begins with an introduction to the castle in question via The Curse Of The Brambly Hedge, which is a new take on Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of previously minor characters. When Sleeping Beauty abandons the castle, and all the people that were sleeping alongside her for a century, for her new Prince, the castle is forced to find itself a new destiny. The story then flashes forward in time to find the castle having become ‘Castle Waiting’ a home (and haven) for misfit fairytale characters of all shapes, sizes, and beyond. The vast cast of characters makes for a fascinating and seemingly endless tapestry of stories to be explored. Medley makes her way through the cast slowly and deliberately and thanks to that care, the cast size never feels overwhelming.
Not unlike Fables, Medley’s Castle Waiting tackles traditional fairy tales with inspired re-invention and especially to my liking, is that it does so with a bit of a feminist slant. The tales inside Castle Waiting are extremely female friendly and are something I’d love to see offered up to every little boy and girl as the required alternative to our more standard ‘happily ever after’ tales. Medley’s characters, for the most part, are a selection of lesser-known fairy tale characters and their stories are full of heart and life lessons that are wonderfully (and naturally) woven into Medley’s tales without ever feeling cliché of forced.
Something easily overlooked because of the general strength of Medley’s writing, world building, characters, art, and unique perspectives, is the sense of humor, which is sharp and constant. There’s a real feeling of lightness and joy to her writing and characters that is completely infectious. And yet the humor never attempts to overshadow the other aspects of Medley's work and thus never diminishes the overall heart and tone of the work.
Castle Waiting volumes available on Amazon.