I finished reading a three book series from Colin Meloy called WildWood. If you’re into stories about kid heroes stumbling into misadventures and magical worlds, this series might be your next pick me up!
Set in the city of Portland, this story follows Prue McKeel, a 12-year-old girl with a penchant for bicycles and nature drawing.
She is forced to venture into the Impassable Wilderness-a vast swath of forest surrounded by tales of missing children and ghosts- in order to save her baby brother, who was stolen by a flock of crows for an unknown purpose. When she enters this forest, she is introduced to WildWood-a hidden world filled with bandits, corrupted governments, and an angry governess with sinister intentions.
I must say, it’s been a pretty entertaining read (despite some misgivings)! The author makes me care for Prue because she is a kid forced to make decisions in an adult situation, and most of her decisions create more trouble than is needed. It’s suspenseful in this respect.
My favorite character is the Dowager-Governess of South Wood (one of many antagonists). She puts a gruesome spin on what a mother’s love can do to one’s sanity. She’s very much like a ripe apple, the skin color rich and smooth; pleasant to look at but when bitten, the flesh is bitter brown, disgusting to the taste buds.
Characters aside, I also enjoy the world Meloy creates within the Impassable Wilderness, which is illustrated by Carson Ellis. I’m a sucker for illustration, and I think his work fits with the mood of the story. His work reminds me of nostalgic fairy tales from childhood. Not the sugar coated kinds, mind you; the ones that are filled with violence and bleak endings. His color palette is wonderful, done in tasteful and dreary muted tones accented with pops of bold reds. If I could get prints of the covers, I would definitely frame them on my wall. They would make for a lovely collection.
The second book was by far my favorite-it contained the most tension and conflict, as well as expanded on the story pertaining to the Dowager-Governess. The third book could have been better, especially since a few plot holes appeared and the characters seemed to detract in growth. I also felt a bit cheated on the story in the third book. The plot dragged somewhat, as if author was writing repetitive facts and thoughts before the final set of events that pushed the story to a close.
This is just a general review/feel for what I have for the books, and to do all these books justice, I would have to write separate reviews for them all, but I still recommend them for reading. Each book is fairly thick, making for a wholesome read, and the illustrations are engaging. So give it a whirl if you have a chance! Once you’re done, maybe we can have a more fun discussion about it!