Friday, September 14, 2012

Wildwood, Colin Meloy

How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries. In fact, if she were to list her worries right then and there as she sat spellbound on the park bench and watched her little brother, Mac, carried aloft in the talons of these five black crows, puzzling out just how this feat was being done would likely come in dead last. First on the list: Her baby brother, her responsibility, was being abducted by birds. A close second: What did they plan on doing with him?

I can't remember where I heard about this fantasy, but I've been wanting to read it for a long time. Prue lives in an alternate Portland, where there is this forest called the Impassable Wilderness. Very few humans have ever ventured into it, and those who do seldom return. One day, a murder of crows kidnaps her baby brother Mac. They take him into the Impassable Wilderness. Prue, along with her friend Curtis, must go into the forest. There, they discover that there are many creatures that live there, and conflict is raging between various groups, who call the forest Wildwood.

I really enjoyed this one. It had suspense, adventure, and a rich fantasy world. For the first part of the book, you're not sure who to trust: the bandits, the Dowager Governess and her coyotes, the birds, or the Governor-Regent. It gradually becomes clear. I liked how Curtis and Prue were separated, so you got to learn about different aspects of Wildwood at the same time. And the illustrations. They were amazing. Detailed and beautiful, they brought life to the story. There were many black and white illustrations, and several color plates. I liked the new take on Portland too.

That said, sometimes the writing could be a bit awkward. There were a lot of "ands" used, sometimes in a sort of disjointed way. But the wonderful story carried me over that. This was overall, a great fantasy novel, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Under Wildwood, which is coming out soon.

Read Wildwood:
  • if you like fantasy
  • if you are interested in Portland
  • if you like alternate reality
541 pages, 4.5 stars.

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