Read The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins Online


Christine Starlight lives with her lover, Jude, in a hip artist colony in modern day Berlin. Haunted by a troubled past, she is shocked when her missing childhood friend, May, suddenly reappears. Abducted as a young girl, May now rules over a magical, mythical kingdom where a witch lives in a well, a shape-shifting wolf is her trusted counselor, and fate hangs on the fallChristine Starlight lives with her lover, Jude, in a hip artist colony in modern day Berlin. Haunted by a troubled past, she is shocked when her missing childhood friend, May, suddenly reappears. Abducted as a young girl, May now rules over a magical, mythical kingdom where a witch lives in a well, a shape-shifting wolf is her trusted counselor, and fate hangs on the fall of an autumn leaf. But as Christine becomes enamored of this beautiful undying land, May falls dangerously in love with Jude. And as their mortal and immortal worlds collide, the women attract a danger born of both realms - a ruthless killer who knows that Christine can enter another dimension, a place where innocents are ripe for the taking…...

Title : The Autumn Castle
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780575076488
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 302 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Autumn Castle Reviews

  • Laura Morrigan
    2019-03-29 21:25

    Review from my blog: Wilkins makes me proud to be an Australian. Why? Because she is the author of the most amazing dark, twisted adult fairytale I have ever read. Taking all the elements that make us love fairytales, the darkness, the death, wicked witches, fairies, forbidden love, Kim Wilkins weaves a magical tale set in modern day Berlin. Christine, an ordinary girl with whom the reader can relate, is staying in Berlin with her boyfriend, Jude. Jude is a painter spending a year in the building of bizarre art lover Mandy Z.Christine is haunted by tragedy: by the death of her parents in a hit and run that also left her with chronic pain, and by a half forgotten childhood memory that begins to come back to her of her childhood friend May, who disappeared. Mayfridh is now the queen of fairies, but she is lonely, and wants to reconnect with Christine. And as she insinuates herself into Christine's life, events begin to unravel, along with a sinister threat that none of them are aware of.I love this story because it goes back to the original dark roots of fairytales, with all the passion and horror that are often taken out of modern day fairytales to make them more acceptable and 'child friendly.' This book has everything I am looking for in a book, and more! It blew me away the first time I read it, and I keep coming back to read it again! There is also lush descriptive prose throughout the book, not a dull sentence to be found. I wholeheartedly recommend it!

  • Maria Lewis
    2019-03-29 19:35

    Fucking LOVE this book: I became obsessed with it in highschool and re-read it almost 10 years later and it holds up. Kim does such a beautiful job of balancing two narratives simultaneously, despite them being very different (one the rich, modern world - the other a fairytale fantasy world). I love the horrific nature of the villain and how wonderfully that's juxtaposed with the love story, which feels genuinely passionate and romantic. Also the ending is so satisfying, tying up everything without feeling trite. Love, LOVE, love this book and so glad I rediscovered it.

  • Bark
    2019-04-01 17:24

    This was an intriguing mix of fantasy, relationship drama with a little horror thrown in though it wasn't nearly as disgusting as I was expecting. Christine, the main character, has a run in with the faery realm when she meets up with an old long-lost friend. She was too naive and doormat-like for me and the rest of the characters were all unlikable to me for various reasons but despite all that I still found it an interesting book. Mandy Z., a madman hellbent on destroying all fairies in the most brutal fashion he can imagine, kept me turning the pages more-so than all of the relationship drama surrounding the other characters.Personally, I would've preferred a less tidier, much more bittersweet ending for several of the characters but it wasn't meant to be. . .

  • Monique
    2019-04-03 23:18

    This is a beautiful story. It's sad, exciting and has a very romantic, wistful atmosphere. It's a great read for people who love the Sevenwaters Books by Juliet Marillier or the Tamír Triad by Lynn Flewelling, for it's got that same easy style and magical feeling to it.

  • Jill
    2019-04-02 18:41

    I frickin' love you, Kim Wilkins.Longer review to come!

  • Crowinator
    2019-04-09 17:18

    I talked up The Veil of Gold so much when it came out that my children's librarian friend at work lent me her ARC of this earlier, UK-published book. I had a hard time getting in to it at first because I didn't care for faery May. I never found her as likable as the other characters; she was always too self-involved to be truly sympathetic. Then again, this isn't really a fault with the book, and I enjoyed the ending, where the happiness May imagined and schemed for doesn't quite live up to reality; it's also appropriate that Christine, the other protagonist who has a tough life and strives to stop being a victim, has the true happy ending. Wilkins excels at integrating the modern world with folklore (here a fascinating array of European faery lore) and creating believable, flawed characters. Mandy Z, the faery serial killer who is the third narrator, even had a few sympathetic moments among the horror that he perpetuates. This is an excellent modern fairy tale and highly recommended.

  • Debbie
    2019-04-18 20:22

    This has been on my TBR list for a long while but I finally grabbed it while redeeming some gift cards at Borders. I tore through this book in under two days; I could barely put it down. I have to say that this is the best urban fantasy I've read in a long time. It ranks right up there with War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. For starters, it takes place in Berlin, rather than the usual New York, London, or other big city in the English speaking (excepting Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Ireland) world. Wilkins breathed new life into one of my favorite genres and I will definitely be picking up more by her. I can see she wrote another that takes place in Norway. I look forward to reading it.

  • Timothy Ferguson
    2019-04-07 17:33

    This review contains significant spoilers, which begin after the Plot heading.There’s a tension when reviewing authors who are alive and live relatively close to you. You’d like them to succeed. You’d like to give them a hand. You’d like, in short, to give them positive reviews. The problem, when you are reviewing, is that you’d like to be fair to your readers, and that means being publicly disappointed by the part of the book which did not work for you. In writing this review, I’m intensely aware of this dynamic tension, so if you feel I’ve strayed one way or the other, please comment.In briefThe plot of The Autumn Castle is slow, and dwells heavily on the internal lives of the characters, rather than what they do. The descriptions are vivid, and there are some original ideas compared to other urban fantasy novels. The magic system has no underlying structure. It becomes increasingly difficult to find characters whom you hope will succeed. Enjoyable, but only recommendable to people who like lengthy books with the slow pace, and introspective, passive characters found in litfic.PlotFoundationally, I think I wrong-footed myself on this book. My favourite book about faeries is Diane Purkiss’s Troublesome Things, which is non-fiction and stresses the liminality of faeries, and the possibility that they are not fully cognisant beings. This created a problem for me, in that the reader’s position on the characters was not immediately clear. When we meet Mandy, who hunts faeries, I didn’t immediately flag him as a villain.The book’s position, which is that faeries are people and a faerie hunter is therefore a sort of serial killer, was not clear to me until we meet enough faeries, later in the plot, to measure them as moral agents. Mandy’s ugly, and the other characters bodyshame him pretty thoroughly for about a hour (in audiobook). Rather than seeing his outer form as a symbol of his spiritual twistedness, I initially thought they were a pack of drunks piling crap on the guy who was supporting their lifestyle. I was kind of hoping they’d get a comeuppance.Then, we pull back to a rather more conventional narrative in which the artists are the side we are meant to hope will win. They deepen their characters by sitting around talking, mostly, and mostly about each other. The Queen of the Faeries seems to be little more than an agressively demanding adolescent, and she seems to keep a slave in a well. Perhaps slave is too strong a term? If the slave is lost the faerie kingdom will die, so I was hoping for some Those Who Walk Away From Omelas, but, no, the slave is, according to the people who need to keep her enslaved, wicked. This means you can just Gitmo her according to them. She also seems to hate them and will hurt them if she gets free: another reason she can and must be kept locked away. In her situation, I think I’d be plotting escape myself.When she tricks her way free because of the Queen’s inability to control her infatuation, she becomes a second villain. The two villains are out doing things, while the other characters just gossip about each other’s love lives. This gives the main characters time to work through their childhood traumas. As the characters pushing the narrative forward, the villains are the more interesting characters. The female villain quickly disfigures a woman and eats parts of her, so that the reader is quite clear that the faerie princess is still on Team Right.I’m sorry we were given that marker, because the side we are meant to support are terrible people. The princess is gradually wrecking the lives of the other characters in her endless quest to fulfill herself. This is perhaps forgivable because she’s not a moral adult, having been raised in a fantasy kingdom as a princess, but that makes the man who wants to be her lover creepy. Her faerie parents were also horrible beings, in a classic faerie way. We are all set up for a twist in which the ugly slave and the serial killer are the heroes, but are denied it.The faerie plot ends with the good guys winning by simple luck. None of them do anything to deserve victory. They just stand by while victory is handed to them on a plate. One of the leads finally gets enough forward momentum to not just be carried by events (after the villains are taken away). We then settle in for another hour and a bit of the main characters resolving their love triangle in a way that was obvious from early in the story. The story claims the ending is an act of restitution by the faerie princess, but she gets exactly and precisely what she wants. Again.In the same way that I wrongfooted myself with a definition of faeries, I think think I wrongfooted myself, in this book, with a definition of love. Characters in this book can do terrible things if they say that they are doing it because they love people. The thing is, though, their loves are never selfless giving to the beloved. Love, for all sides, is a possessive impulse that excuses other immoralities. Initially I thought that was the characters being hypocritical, but no, in this universe, that’s really how love works. It really is a higher calling so great that if you claim it, you feel justified doing anything else for it, and in the end, are rewarded for whatever evil you’ve done, provided you looked nice to begin with. So, love, in this world, is a great source of evil and peversion, even in the nominally good characters.Audio PresentationYou will need to be patient with this book. If you are listening to the audiobook, you have surrendered the pacing of the story to the author. The book is 19 and a half hours long (462 pages). The point where the real conflict starts is about Section 12, which is about four hours in. This is so far past “hook me in the first hour or I’m leaving” rule of thumb that I would have given this book up, if I’d not given up on my previous AWWC book for the same reason. The framing for the final confrontation occurs in section 36, so you know, because the book has 50 sections, that things are going to take an awfully long time to resolve. When the epilogue starts, buckle down for an extra quarter hour.I feel for the audiobook presenter. The shorthand the author uses to distinguish many of her characters is that each comes from a different place and so has a different accent. This works well in audio, and the reader gamefully struggles through all of these. He does very well, but at one point he’s asked to carry more than any performer could.Sex scenes are difficult to write. The authors need to get across the emotional impetus of the scene while ignoring the mechanics beyond a few indicative acts. To give too much detail is boring. To give too little detail is to miss the point at which characters realign their priorities and alligences. Add to this that each reader is interpreting the book in their own way, and sex scenes often come off as unconvincing. The reader of the audiobook then tries to perform both parts, with voices. I felt so sorry for him, because he’s hitting square on the difference between a performance of the book and a person reading a book to themself. He does as well as could be hoped, but he can’t carry the scene, which is problematic, because its seminal to the plot’s development.This review originally appeared on book coasters

  • Emily Mcleod
    2019-03-27 17:43

    A slow starter but enjoyable tale. I am a big fan of the authors work and this book was a great addition to the European trilogy. Some of the events were predictable but they were still enjoyable and the pace in the last quarter of the book was thrilling. A little frustrating yes but still had me tearing through the book.This book is the most like a fairytale rebelling of the group (Giants of the frost, rosa and the golden bear) and I am enjoyed the setting of modern Berlin meets fairytale Germany.

  • Tsana Dolichva
    2019-04-08 19:28

    The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins is the first novel I've read by the author, though I did enjoy a novella collection of hers earlier in the year. I can also definitely state it won't be the last novel I read by the author. I should also note I read it as an audiobook borrowed from the library.The Autumn Castle is sort of a portal fantasy in that there is the real world (Berlin in the early 00s) and there is fairyland, but a larger part of the action takes place in the real world. It's also more of a character driven story than a lot of the books I've read recently. There's no Quest and the world doesn't need saving from the start. There is a Bad Guy but several of the other characters are of dubious morality at one point or another. There are secrets, lies and conflicting desires. At a few points, I honestly wasn't sure how some issues were going to be resolved.Christine is probably the easiest character to like. She means well and not in an offensively misguided way like some of the other characters. The chronic pain aspect was also a nice layer and I liked how it was portrayed in the book. It was something Christine was always aware of and something she wanted to avoid having define her.The other characters were more difficult to like. Mandy, the serial fairy killer, was obviously reprehensible and irredeemable from the start. The sections from his point of view — mostly extracts from his memoires — are suitable icky and I enjoyed the way they were read in a German accent. In fact, most of the accents were pretty good in the audiobook although I was probably least convinced by the US accents of Christine and her boyfriend.Mayfridh was an interesting character but one I increasingly lost respect for, especially towards the end. Having lived in fairyland for most of her life as a princess and then a queen, she's quite spoiled and, when she first comes to the real world, naïve about how things work. Both traits evolve as the book progresses but there were many reasons I wanted to tell her off towards the end.The secondary characters all added significantly to the story and I appreciated the layers of complexity which we learnt as the story progressed. Several people turned out to be not quite what they seemed and there were a couple of revelations I really didn't see coming. A well-crafted story. And I liked the fairytale epilogue at the end. That was nice.I highly recommend The Autumn Castle to fans of character-driven fantasy books. I think readers who usually don't read much fantasy would also enjoy it since, although the fantasy element is inextricable from the plot, the character-driven narrative is the more complex aspect. Assuming you like that sort of thing, anyway. There are some dark elements, so be warned: vicious murder and light torture within (but no rape, if that helps). The Autumn Castle is the first book in a "suite" of three unrelated novels (set in the same universe? I'm not even sure) and I intend to read the next one in the near future (probably as an audiobook as well; I have it in paper on another continent).4.5 / 5 starsRead more reviews on my blog.

  • Wendy
    2019-04-02 21:46

    What a fantastic story!Christine lives with Jude in modern day Germany. Christine has lived a tragic life, losing her famous parents in a horrific car accident when she was younger, leaving her with a back injury that causes excruciating pain every moment of her life. One day she accidentally slams her injured back into the corner of the kitchen table causing so much pain that she is rendered unconscious. She wakes seconds later in a wondrous land where she feels no pain. Thinking that she is unconscious and dreaming, she explores this new world only to encounter Queen Mayfridh, the Queen of the Faeries, who also happens to be a girl that Christine once knew in real life. This trip to Faerie land begins an adventure for both Christine and May that is wondrous, heartbreaking, horrifying and life altering. I totally enjoyed this book. The characters were fantastic and the storyline was wonderful. I guessed at the ending early on, but was still thrilled with the adventure that lead there. I have a couple more of Kim Wilkins books on my TBR mountain and plan to pull them out and read them soon.

  • Celeste Everitt
    2019-03-28 20:19

    Review on my blog at when it was given to me and for the next few days, this book was glued to my fingers and I couldn't put it down. I had at least 3 hours less sleep a night and I was happily lost in a world of fantasy, a world with faeries, witches and a shapeshifter, AND they visit our world. The story centers around Christine Starlight (sole survivor of her family's car accident) who is living in Berlin with her boyfriend. She discovers that her childhood friend (who was abducted when they were kids) was actually stolen by faeries and is now queen of their land (Ewigkreis). It has a very dark twist to it, there's a serial killer and you're lead to visualize some pretty gory details, but there's also lots of beauty and things you can only dream of seeing in reality - that's what books are for!This book will stay with me for a long time and I really recommend you read it as soon as you can!

  • Dannii (lilbob1980)
    2019-04-16 00:45

    This is a really well written modern day faerie story. Set in Germany, Christine and her Boyfriend Jude who is on an art fellowship think they have a fairly normal happy life. Living in Germany many unhappy memories are reappearing for Christine who spent some of her childhood here until her friend was kidnapped.After an accident Christine ends up seeing her childhood friend but in a strange dreamlike place - faeryland. It turns out Little May wasn't exactly kidnapped but went to live in faeryland and become Queen. The two worlds were currently in line with eachother so Mayfridh decides to spend some time in the Real world making friends and before you know it chaos follows.This is actually quite dark in places so not quite the happy beautiful tale that I would have expected and I think that is because it is mainly set in the Real World rather than Faeryland where everything is meant to be peaceful. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • Alealea
    2019-04-09 19:17

    For a book I read only once, I sure remember it.Except for the last chapter, which is kind of apart (and that I read from time to time)(view spoiler)[it's a fairytale. I am a sucker for fairytale (hide spoiler)]Mostly, I didn't like it. The story, magic and all could be interesting, I guess if....most of the characters were not so creepy ! I couldn't find one character I liked in the complete story. That left me feeling pretty weird and kind of sorry for it. I know I read another book from the same writer and it was the same (but I can't seem to remember which it was), so maybe it's her style.But Diana Whyne Jones succeeds in finding the right equilibrium between imperfect, selfish, gullible, faillible humanity and the small act that reedems the character ... while Kim Wilkins just seem to wallow in it. And that is creepy. And sad.

  • Miriam
    2019-04-05 00:22

    Orphaned Christine returns to Berlin when her artist boyfriend Jude wins a fellowship offered by wealthy but repulsive sculptor Mandy Z. Christine lived in Berlin with her musician parents, years before they were killed by a hit-and-run driver who left Christine with injuries that cause her constant pain. Her best friend in Berlin, a little English girl named May, disappeared at age 8 and was never heard of again. Now that Christine is in Berlin again, the tragedies of her past seem to be reawakening and connecting in unforeseeable ways.

  • Beth Laverick
    2019-03-24 00:28

    This has to be one of my favourite books. I bought it for the terrible reason that I liked the cover and I am so glad that I did. It introduced me to a whole new genre of fiction. I could not stop reading this book it is addictive.

  • fivethousandbooks
    2019-03-27 22:35

    Autumn Castle is one of the loveliest fantasy stories I've ever read. Although I've only recently immersed myself in fantasy, this book will stay with me for a long time and I'm glad to have it as part of my collection.

  • Kelly
    2019-03-21 23:42

    3.5 - Really enjoy this author and all things magical and fairy. I did get a little turned off by the characters selfishness and immaturity. By the end it was annoying! Overall enjoyed the book.

  • Joy
    2019-04-16 18:42

    i can't rate this from my kindle but would give it 4.5 stars. another emjoyable read Kim

  • Melissa Riley
    2019-04-19 22:37

    wasn't my favourite, but that might be due to the fairy element.

  • Claudi Feldhaus
    2019-04-14 22:34

    Ich liebe, liebe, liebe dieses Buch!

  • Ann
    2019-03-23 18:37

    This book is billed as a dark urban fantasy. It's probably closer to call it a dark, urban fairy tale. It has a quality to it that harkens back to the brother's Grimm, which is rather apropos, since it's set in Berlin.Wilkins also writes horror, which is evident in that the creepy parts of the book are quite creepy.The story focuses it's narration on four characters, whom are mirrors of each other in certain aspects: Christine Starlight, the daughter of two famous rock musicians who tragically die in a car crash when Christine is a teen. The crash also severely injures Christine, who has lived with chronic back pain since then. Christine lives with her lover Jude, an up-and-coming artist and one of those beautiful men that every woman wants. Christine is constantly full of angst that she will lose him.May Frith/Mayfridh, Queen of the fairy kingdom of Ewigkreis, Christine's childhood friend. She was abducted by the fairies to become heir to the throne. Once in Ewigkreis, she lost all of her memories of her past life, until Christine abruptly arrives in her kingdom, then she remembers, and desires to see the Real World once again. In some ways, her life parallels Christine in that she lost her fairy parents when she was young: at the age of nine, they went out for an evening in the Real World, and never returned. Mandy Z, an eccentric and somewhat creepy billionaire who supports a colony of young artists through a scholarship program. However, Mandy is even more creepy than anyone expects. He's a sculpture, and his favorite medium is fairy bones. Mandy is creepy. Parts of the story are excerpts from his diary, written in first person, and it just kinda makes your skin crawl to read about him blithely killing and boning fairies. Especially when you read his justification for it. Later, the third person narrative focuses in on him, but I thought the inclusion of the diary bits was very well done.The minor character is Hexebart, a witch who has the royal magic of Ewigkreis. The previous queen gave it to her for safekeeping, and she refuses to relinquish it to Mayfridh until she proves that the previous queen is dead. Hexebart is a kind of mirror to Mandy Z. She's also creepy and twisted, and hates Mayfridh. Some of her parts are also written in first person, a very close first person, almost stream of consciousness. Christine is the sympathetic character in her dealing with her pain, the death of her parents, and her fear that she is not good enough for Jude, that he'll leave her for someone else, that he doesn't love her. However, by the end, she grows a pair with regard to Jude. That's always nice to see.Mayfridh is naive and haughty. She's used to getting her way in her kingdom, although it's clearly evident that she's not much of a ruler. The loss of her parents (both sets) does not excuse her crappy behavior, though. She lacks the empathy that Christine has, pretty much only thinking of herself right until the end of the book. Her kingdom is more or less run by Eisengrimm, Mayfridh's shapeshifting advisor. Where Christine is kind and almost self-depreciating to a fault, Mayfridth is obnoxious to the point of almost cruelty, knows she's beautiful, and uses that. Especially to win the love of Jude. She also attracts the attention of Mandy Z, who learns that there exists a way for him to go into fairy-lands and... collect more material for his art.Jude comes off as shallow. But that's ok, because he is, in a whole host of ways. The supporting characters are good, though of those, it is Eisengrimm that stands out far and away as my favorite character. He's complex, torn by love and duty, and yet also a kind soul. It is Eisengrimm who is the mirror of Jude.There's a lot going on in this book:-There's Jude and Christine's relationship-There's the love triangle between Christine, Jude, and Mayfridh-There's the endless pain that Christine is in, and the relief she finds in Ewigkreis and her developing love of that land-There's Mandy's homicidal desire to use Mayfridh's bones to finish his sculpture-There's Hexebart's desire to punish Mayfridh for (she thinks) killing the former queen and taking the throne-There's Mayfridh's fascination with the Real World, finding her real mother, and her desire to remain, though she will be pulled back to Ewigkreis when the seasons change and forget everything that happened to her in the Real WorldWilkins holds the threads together well, and weaves them in and out of the tale with ease. There are some places where it's pretty clear what will happen, but she excels at adding enough tension to keep you turning the pages, despite that. The writing is very clean.I don't really want to spoil the ending, but I will say that it was satisfying, though a tiny bit predictable. However, the other ending is even more satisfying, as it is written in a true fairy-tale style.

  • Christy
    2019-04-04 21:28

    After enjoying Kim Wilkins’ novel Veil of Gold last year, I decided to seek out her backlist. Similar to how Veil of Gold pulled from Russian folktales, The Autumn Castle delves into German folklore, with overtones of Grimm fairy tales. It is not a retelling of any particular Grimm fairy tale, but characters’ backstories contain familiar elements: a bargain too eagerly made and soon regretted, quests to undo curses, talking magical animals.Kim Wilkins apparently has a knack for creating characters that burrow into my affection. In Veil of Gold, it was Em Hayward. In The Autumn Castle, it was Christine as well as May’s faithful wolf advisor, Eisengrimm. I loved how Christine and Eisengrimm quickly developed a companionable rapport.I did look at some Goodreads reviews before writing my own. Of course, when I do that, it makes me want to respond to some of the criticisms other readers had. I remember a few reviews complaining about predictability, which surprised me. I guess it depends on one’s past reading experience. Having read Veil of Gold, I knew that there were no guarantees about characters’ safety from Wilkins. I knew what I hoped would happen in The Autumn Castle, but I didn’t know if it would, and if so, how that would be accomplished. Wilkins foreshadowed some events, but there was enough left ‘up in the air’ to keep me wondering what was going to happen next.Also, a certain level of predictability doesn’t seem out of place for a book which consciously evokes Grimm fairy tales. That’s my take anyway.One thing I liked in both Veil of Gold and The Autumn Castle is how Kim Wilkins dealt with unprepared humans encountering fantasy worlds for the first time. I’ve read a fair amount of urban fantasy and fantasy novels, and though it makes sense that humans would react with disbelief to magical worlds, I get impatient if this adjustment period extends too long, or remains throughout most of the book. I appreciate that Wilkins dispatches of this stage quickly and in a way that works with the characters and setting.The Autumn Castle is less bleak and desperate than Veil of Gold, but there are still high stakes in play, and not just of lives, but of love and memory. The villain is utterly creepy, psychotic and dangerous, but the rest of the characters are quite capable of causing hurt to each other in regular human ways (even if they are faery.)So chalk this one up to another good fantasy read. And I just found out while writing this review that The Autumn Castle and Veil of Gold are books 1 and 3 respectively of The Europa Suite. Apparently book 2, Giants of the Frost, is based around the tales of Scandinavia. So I guess I know which Wilkins book I’m going to read by next.

  • Sherry
    2019-04-11 17:43

    I love fairy tales. What made the rating less for this story is that if I do a lot of skimming then 2 stars is definitely as much as I can rate. The characters and the plot were predictable to any well read reader. Basically, what kept me reading and skimming to the end was just a love of the notion of a fairy tale, and a modicum of caring for one of the characters, Christine.

  • Juushika
    2019-03-26 21:25

    As a child, Christine's best friend was abducted; as an adolescent, Christine's parents were killed in a car crash that left Christine with chronic pain. Now, autumn in Berlin, living with her lover in an artist's hotel, Christine is confronted by the return of her childhood friend--who has spent the intervening years as a faery queen. The Autumn Castle is an urban fantasy-cum-portal fantasy with a gleeful sense of the grotesque, and could easily be too frivolous for my tastes--but to my surprise, I loved it. It's far from perfect: the writing is often only serviceable, characters are often immature, the star-crossed romances are deeply heteronormative and a bit boring, there's a sizable dose of fat-shaming, and the plot has a distinct sense of inevitability--the reader waits to see not what will happen, but when and how. Yet that discovery is a joy because the book has such depth. The worldbuilding is sufficiently unique as to be refreshing, characters are often aware of their flaws and offer distinct voices and emotional complexity, and the book digs deep into each moment while seeming always to offer one more, and so feels longer than it is in the best possible way; combined with a readable lightness of tone, it's a book to get lost in for hours at a time as escapist but resonant, fulfilling entertainment. Even Christine's chronic pain is handled well--not with so much depth as to slow the book, but with relative grace. I picked up The Autumn Castle on simple whim, and it has its limitations, but the truth is that I enjoyed every page and will probably seek out more by the author. It's not exceptional, but if you have the chance to try it I recommend that you do.

  • Kim
    2019-04-18 18:29

    This is old school urban fantasy, something Charles de Lint might have written if his faeries were Germanic rather than Celtic/Native American. It is also alternately brutal and lovely. Christine Starlight is living in Berlin with her artist boyfriend Jude, when she encounters a childhood friend who had mysteriously disappeared. It turns out little May---now known as Mayfridh---actually vanished into a fairyland, Ewigkreis, where she is now queen. Christine, sole survivor of a car accident that took the life of her parents, is very easy to feel sorry for but sometimes difficult to like, particularly in her relationship with Jude. There is a truly appalling villain, from whose perspective every other chapter is written, and appealing supporting characters including the shape-shifting Eisengrimm, wide-eyed Mayfridh, and the various members of Christine's bohemian crew. There is at least one plot point I saw coming a mile away, and I certainly don't recommend this book for the squeamish, but the ending is truly magical, and over all, it's an enjoyable read.

  • Mary-Beth
    2019-03-25 22:33

    This dark urban fantasy novel was all right given I am not a huge fan of urban fantasy. It deals with a changeling child who has become the Queen of the Faeries and the complicated course of events that occurs when she makes contact with an old friend from the Real World.For starters I guessed what the basic shape of the ending was going to be at least 200 pages before it actually happened. This was tiresome to say the least. Even more tiresome at times were the main characters. Most of them were repugnant in some way. Even the main character, Christine, the 'good guy,' really was as horribly whiny and doormat-like as some of the nastier characters observed. Personally, I'd rather have read more of the fairy-tale at the end of the novel than the novel itself.The villain was creepy and frightening and apparently utterly without motive, except he was totally nuts. I guess that's a fairly decent motive, actually, but I didn't find him very interesting myself.If you enjoy urban fantasy a lot you might like this better than I did.

  • Shara
    2019-04-18 21:40

    I absolutely loved Wilkins' VEIL OF GOLD. So much that I backordered a few of her older titles, and I'm just now getting to try this one, THE AUTUMN CASTLE. And boy, is it utterly different. There's always a chance that my tastes have changed, but I can't believe this book was written by the same author as VEIL OF GOLD, a book I've enthusiastically recommended to others. The writing is mostly bland and generic, with very little spark and life to it. The plot itself might've interested me ten years ago, but it doesn't grab me now (and if the writing had a little more spark and life to it, I wouldn't care). A shame, but after 94 pages and my peeking at the ending, there's really no need to continue. For those readers interested in Wilkins' work, I'd highly recommend starting with VEIL OF GOLD instead.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-08 20:19

    This book is amazing. It is a dark urban fantasy that draws deeply upon faerie lore but isn't afraid to create its own rules when necessary. When I say dark, I do mean dark. As in some of the de-"boning" scenes have inspired nightmares. This book is a great stand-alone, powerful example of what the genre should be. It's disturbing and fascinating, full of magic and at the same time relying on the everyday and mundane world of Berlin to balance the faerie realm. The characters are all realistically flawed, young individuals who become tangled in extraordinary events yet retain their own (often selfish) drives and concerns that creates a more interesting coterie of characters than one usually encounters in urban fantasy (i.e. hero/ine, victim, love interest etc) Overall, just a great book, enjoyable and well done. Why the hell is it out of print?!?

  • Lavender Brooke
    2019-04-02 17:31

    I enjoyed all the Europa Suite books that Kim Wilkins wrote Giants of The Frost being my favourite. This too was an excellent read. It had the creepy magic that she writes so well combined with the intrigue that she brings to the story. I sat down and devoured this book in one day, losing myself in KW's wonderfully drawn world. I loved that we visit faeryland, that there's faery magic, a witch, a shapeshifter and there's even a maniac billionaire who hunts the faeries for.... no I wont tell you! Kim Wilkin's book deserves more recognition they are really well imagined and stories that you can lose yourself in. If you love your magic a bit...well....spooky this book will defintely be for you. A wonderful adult faerytale!