While enjoying a typical and relaxing day with her younger brother, Mac, 12-year-old Prue sees a murder of crows swoop down from the sky and sweep up her brother with one catch. Much to her dismay and horror, she sees that the crows have taken her brother into the frightful Impassable Woods that borders her hometown of Portland, Or. Now Prue has to muster up the courage to delve deep into the woods to look for her brother, but what she finds is more than she ever expected.
Author Colin Meloy is the lead singer/songwriter for the Decemberists, and this is his first book. Wildwood is book 1 of the Wildwood Chronicles. For me, this book has a lot of elements of many beloved children’s books. I found influences and traces of the following: The Chronicles of Narnia, Robin Hood, Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, etc. From the talking animals, to the unhappy and restless residents of Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis get sucked into the slow upheaval that is about to upset the world of Wildwood and the epic struggle between good and evil.
The world Meloy has created is well-developed. I didn’t feel as if he spent too much or too little time on any of the numerous factions that make up the hidden world of Wildwood. From the bandits, to the city rulers, I found all the characters to be intricate, and complex. I would definitely recommend this book to advanced readers who enjoy fantasy, action, and humor. Meloy does not dumb down this book, even though it is aimed for a much younger audience. I had to look up a word in the dictionary on almost every page of this book.
There is a lot going on in this book, and I can’t even begin to sum it up in this review. I know I’ve left out giant chunks of the story, but if I were to review this book in as much detail as I wanted this review would be about a million words long.
A snippet of the book – Prue’s first impressions of Wildwood forest.
The sunlight dappled the ground in hazy patterns, and the air felt pure and untouched to Prue’s cheeks. As she walked, she wondered at the majesty of the place, her fears subsiding with every step in this incredible wilderness. Birds sang in the looming trees above the ravine, and the underbrush was periodically disturbed by the sudden skitter of a squirrel or a chipmunk. Prue couldn’t believe that no one had ever ventured this far into the Impassable Wilderness; she found it a welcoming and serene place, full of life and beauty.
Not to sound repetitive, but I LOVED this book and I think any adult who enjoys The Narnia series, or Harry Potter will definitely enjoy this book. I read all 500+ pages of it in one day. I think Harry Potter 7 was the last long book I did that for. I am eagerly awaiting book 2 of the series.
This review is also cross-posted at The Novel World