Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Castelon (Wraithwood Trilogy #3)


Alyssa Roat


Mountain Brook Fire (a division of Mountain Brook Ink)

Publication Date:

March 15, 2023




469 pages


Brynna “Brinnie” Lane has had a complicated life. Until a few years ago, she didn’t know there was such a thing as magic, much less that her family belonged to a powerful family of magicians going back to Arthurian times. Nor did she realize that visiting her mysterious uncle’s estate, Wraithwood, would pull her into a war that would decide magic’s future. One side wants to keep the magic world balanced with the human world. The other, led by the resurrected dark magician Mordred, wants to increase magic’s dominance… and if that means killing all the non-magical humans, oh well. With help from her friend Marcus, Brinnie has escaped captivity on the Mordizan estate and learned about a weapon which may kill Mordred. However, she has a problem. The wizards at the central estate, Castelon, refuse to take a side in the war. Brinnie and Marcus have to work without their help to find the weapon… but the secret to its location may lie with a friend who died fighting for Wraithwood.

Alyssa Roat’s first published books were the comedic novels Dear Hero and Dear Sidekick, co-written with Hope Bolinger. Her solo writing has some of the same humor—jokes referencing famous movies or books, a touch of sass, and clever wordplay. The humor is as sharp as ever, but she never turns this story into a full-out comedy. Instead, she uses it to riff on ideas from famous fantasy works while keeping her work original. Castelon’s plot has an image or two similar to the Chronicles of Narnia, but she never takes the Gordon Greenhill route and makes the story into a full-out homage to Narnia. She gives a few references that will remind readers of Harry Potter, but Castelon never becomes a Harry Potter spoof. The comedy allows her to reference these famous works—a magic door here, a broomstick there—and let the audience in on the joke while still telling an independent story. The balancing act works well, alternating between clever laughs and compelling drama.

The dramatic side is equally engaging. Roat gives enough information that first-time readers will understand what’s going on without reading Wraithwood or Mordizan, but it also builds on what has come before. Longtime readers have watched Brinnie discover magic and face terrible consequences when it didn’t work the way she expected. Here, she wrestles even further with what it means to have great power and how to use it well.

Roat shows she’s not afraid to have her characters experience great pain when their choices have great consequences. She also routinely subverts expectations that genre fans will bring to the table. Final battles may not end with everything tidied up neatly. Showdowns may be just the start of a fresh skirmish. The fact that sacrifices have to be made may not make them any easier… especially if sacrifice feels less like the right choice and more like the lightest gray in a series of gray choices.

An excellent fantasy novel that ends an excellent series on a high note.


Rating (1 to 5 stars):

5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Readers who enjoy fantasy adventure stories with Arthurian elements and heists, particularly ones in the same general style as the Harry Potter series.

Christian Impact:

Roat uses the concept of fantasy magic to explore power—what it can be used for, what it means to abuse it, and what is lost when people morally compromise to maintain or gain power. Since this book revolves around events at Castelon, a magical estate whose owners care more about keeping their position than about challenging evil, Roat uses the opportunity to skewer leaders who have forgotten what their power is for. Like Discworld author Terry Pratchett, she exhibits righteous anger at selfish leaders, then turns the anger into an opportunity to discuss a better way.

Buy on

Buy on

NOTE: ECLA Readers who enjoyed this book may enjoy the following:

Castelon (The Wraithwood Trilogy, #3)


  1. A Presentation: SEO Basics for Web and Print – G. Connor Salter - March 22, 2023

    […] that Hope has coauthored (Dear Hero and Dear Henchmen). I’ve also had the privilege to review Castelon, a fantasy novel by her trusted cauthor, Alyssa […]

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