Tanith Lee,
Dark Castle, White Horse
(DAW, 1986)

Dark Castle, White Horse is actually an omnibus edition of two unrelated young-adult fantasies by the versatile Tanith Lee.

Castle of Dark is a rather dark fantasy dealing with the mysterious curse of Lilune, a girl who has had practically no experience of the outside world due to her confinement by two hags and her strange inability to stand sunlight. When she escapes with the aid of the harper Lir, all sorts of strange incidents happen in her wake. Overall, it is quite enjoyable, although I would have liked a bit more sympathetic heroine.

Prince on a White Horse is an almost frivolously light fantasy offering from Lee that reminded me quite strongly at bits of The Phantom Tollbooth. There's an odd cast of idiosyncratic characters, including three types of vicious animals (Buzzles, Beezles and Bezzles), a prince who can't remember his name or purpose, three moons (none of which are round) and a wise, talking white horse that continuously insists that horses don't talk. It's a quest type adventure to rid the world of the menace Nulgrave, of whom everyone is afraid though they don't know why. I liked this better than Castle of Dark; it was just more fun to read.

All in all, Dark Castle, White Horse is quite a worthy 2-in-1 book. If you can find it and like Tanith Lee's YA fantasy, Dark Castle, White Horse should be thoroughly enjoyable.

by Jennifer Mo
18 February 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.