My actual rating: 2.25I found the mass market paperback at a library sale and its John Howe cover made it an instant buy. Also my having a healthy appetite for animal tales, especially those set in a fantasy realm--it was a done deal.This is actually the second book of a series, but I went ahead with it deciding that if I liked it I could always fill in the blanks later. Turns out it was a good thing I didn't try to track down the first as I doubt I'd have ever made it to Castle Storm.Kilworth has an imagination that much was clear, but his execution could've been vastly improved. None of the characters really came alive and fell flat. The dialogue was quite cheesy and overlong where you just wished the curtain got pulled forcing whichever character to shut up. (The princess character could've easily been removed in most of her scenes, etc.)Some of the situations were very original, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to compensate for the weaker areas. As an early draft this would've worked fine, but as a published work I had higher expectations.