Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world."
The Twistrose Key has been described as a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass, and it is every bit as lovely as those two books. Almhiell creates a wonderful world in Sylver, one that should really be read in the Winter time with a cup of your favorite hot beverage and your pet snuggling up next to you. Lucky for me, we had some additional snow over the weekend, so I certainly could identify with the setting. And the beautiful prose, " Lin had lived for eleven years where the fields smelled of freshly turned soil and the mountains hugged the stars between their peaks." There is something about getting wrapped up in a place like that. I really liked Lin's excitement of being reunited with Rufus and her eagerness to take on her task. You see, Lin must find Prince Ivan Winterfyrst, who has been missing for weeks, and she must find him "while the Wanderer still shines over the valley of Sylver." Ivan needs to perform his special magic to open the Wandergate between Sylver and Earth and bring forth the Wandersnow. It's also the only way that Lin can make her way back home. Which presents Lin with a huge puzzle to solve, where is the Prince and how can she find him? Of course there are also those out to prevent Lin from completing her task, which adds some nice mystery to the story because we are never completely sure of some of the secondary characters motivations and whether they are a traitor or not. However, I did find myself wishing that Ivan's character would have been explored a little more, he spent so much of the story missing that I really felt that he kinda deserves his own story. And the bad guy, The Margrave, who has control over a troll army that can destroy all of Sylver, well he is so elusive in the beginning that I really didn't get a feel for his nastiness. Yet, there is plenty of mystery, twists and beautiful writing that is very reminiscent of a children's fairy tale. As an interesting side note: I'm always curious about where an author's idea for their story comes from and after a little research at Tone Almhiell's website , I learned that she began writing the story after her pet died and The Twistrose Key was written first as an advent calendar with one page chapters glued into a book. There are lots of interesting tidbits on Almhiell's book webpage. Although this book is a stand alone, I hope Almhiell will continue to write more stories in the future. My copy for review was from the public library.