I have been dragging my feet on writing a review about this book. I really wanted to love it. It is nominated for the California Young Reader Medal, it has great reviews, it is a New York Times bestseller, and the kids rave about it. It has everything going for it – adventure, suspense, a believable magical world, a plucky heroine and a determined hero. The author, Colin Meloy, is the lead singer and songwriter of the popular indie folk rock band The Decemberists, and the illustrator is the amazing Carson Ellis. I took the book home full of excitement and eagerness to start reading. And then I just couldn’t get into it. I am not a lover of fantastical worlds, and Wildwood is nothing if not fantastical. I did try. I made it halfway, and then had to skip to the last chapter, to read what turned out to be a rather satisfying ending.
Prue McKeel lives an ordinary life in Portland. Until the day her baby brother is kidnapped by a murder of crows and taken into the “Impassable Wilderness” – the impenetrable forest world called Wildwood on the outskirts of Portland. Prue and her friend Curtis set out to rescue her brother. On the way, they get separated and the book follows their stories alternating chapter by chapter. There are magical creatures, warring armies, dark magic, and a battle for the survival of Wildwood itself.
The story does wrap up nicely with lots of room for a sequel. Actually, there has been not just one sequel, but two. Wildwood continues to entrance readers of all ages. I do encourage you to read this book. There is a reason it is so popular and is nominated for the California Young Reader Medal Award. It just didn’t resonate with me. So give it a go and let me know what you think.