Thursday 8 August 2013

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Prue McKeel's life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one's ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.
So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

The blurb for this book sounded right up my street so I was so happy when Canongate books said they would send me a copy to review.

Wildwood is a children's fantasy story and is the first in the trilogy, but please do not be put off by the word children's if you do not read children's novels as this is a very sophisticated novel with so much detail. It's not up there with Harry Potter, but it is that kind of story that no matter what age you are you will be easily absorbed into the world of Wildwood and not want to resurface.

I knew I was going to love this novel before I even started reading it and when I did, my feelings were confirmed.

Whilst Prue is out with her baby brother Mac, Mac gets abducted by crows. Prue chases them but she can't get to them and sees them take him into the Impassable Wilderness where no one is allowed to go; with stories of people disappearing and never returning. Prue knows that she has to go in no matter what, so fooling her parents, she sets off towards the Impassable Wilderness.Very quickly she realises that someone is following her. This turns out to be Curtis, a boy from school. She tries to tell him to go away, but a run in with a train finds them jumping into the wilderness. Prue and Curtis are not together long before they are spotted by the military coyotes they have been spying on and to their astonishment are speaking in English. They capture Curtis, but luckily for Prue she goes unnoticed and manages to escape.

Separated, Prue and Curtis each discover they are in the magical land of Wildwood with countries, rules and politics of its own. What entails is a magical adventure with Military Coyotes, Secret Police, Bandits, Mystics, Talking Birds and an Evil Dowager intent on destroying Wildwood.

I love the storytelling of this book, there was so much detail and I could picture everything extremely well. There is a great atmosphere to the novel and I really felt like I was in Wildwood with Prue and Curtis.

I thought Prue and Curtis were great main characters. Prue is independent and headstrong and really will do anything to save her baby brother. Curtis is also incredibly brave and surprised me a little bit as thought that he was going to be the weaker of the two main characters, but they were equal to each other in the lengths they were each going to to save Mac.

The illustrations in the novel are beautiful. It has been quite a while since I read a novel with illustrations in, so it was a lovely change. I was worried at first that they would impact too much on my own imagination, but instead they greatly added to it and it was a nice break in the story at times. I have shown some of the illustrations in this post.

Even though Wildwood is a trilogy, the ending appears to be quite wrapped up with no discernible cliffhanger. But after the authors brilliant storytelling, you just know they will have more to tell. I am now going to start reading the second in the trilogy 'Under Wildwood', which I can't wait to start!


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