Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Title: Wildwood
Author: Colin Meloy
Series: Wildwood Chronicles, #1

Prue McKeel is just a normal twelve-year-old girl until a murder of crows kidnaps her brother Mac. Now Prue must enter into the Impassable Wilderness, a forested region just beyond her hometown of Portland, to find her brother and bring him home. Prue is not alone in her endeavor, her friend Curtis has also followed her into the great, strange expanse. When the two of them come across a skirmish of soldier coyotes arguing, they both realize the land they’ve stumbled into is far different from their own. Colin Meloy’s Wildwood is story of adventure and bravery in a mysterious new world.

“In a flash of an instant and without a sound, the funnel of crows crested the far side of the river and disappeared in a long, thin column into the darkness of these woods. Her brother had been taken into the Impassable Wilderness.”

The concept of Wildwood is a lot more interesting than its execution. With 541 pages, the book felt a little bit endless at times and while I enjoy reading worlds built out of words, this one wasn’t as magical as I hoped it would be. Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart comes immediately to mind, a book just as long but sustainable because of its magic. Part of the issue with Wildwood is the author’s narrative which feels too much composed by an adult rather than a child. Consequently, I felt a barrier between me and the main characters.

I hate to be a nit picker when it comes to the content of children’s literature, but I found it very uncomfortable to read about children waving around pistols and lighting cannons, resulting in casualties. When I think about it, there are some really bad lessons in this book like getting in a vehicle with a stranger. Haven’t these kids heard the phrase “stranger, danger”? And I’ve read enough books, including The Chronicles of Narnia (which this book reminded me of) or any book centered around the Fair Folk, to know when entering a foreign realm not to accept food or drink from the locals.

Prue and Curtis were both charming at times and I was amused when I first began the book, but as it progressed I kept seeing more and more problems. This is especially true with regard to Prue’s parents. It was easy to disregard their lack of observation when Prue returns home without their child because I understood it was necessary to move the story along, but my mouth about dropped open the next time I read about them. The sheer irresponsibility and callousness exhibited by these adults was astonishing.

On a bright note, the illustrations by Carson Ellis were lovely.

Rating: 2/5

★★

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4 thoughts on “Wildwood by Colin Meloy

  1. I actually finished reading this book about a month ago, and I do agree with some of the points here.
    The first book left me curious, the second book left me very excited, and the third book left me cringing. I felt Prue and Curtis had a lot of potential to grow as characters, but by the third book, I felt all of that growth had reversed. I don’t think Meloy really pounced on the change Curtis went through while being with the bandits (even though she touches on it in the final book, it felt more like a mention than any means to contribute to the story line). I do love the tales she incorporates, especially about the Dowager-Governess of South Wood.
    I think where Meloy lacks in immersing a reader in the world of WildWood with her words, Carson Ellis makes up for that. His illustrations really brought that world alive. Either way, I did find the series enjoyable, but the last book left a bad taste in my mouth. A bit unfortunate. Ha, I can go on forever talking about this series. Thanks for the review!

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  2. Hi! This is Hannah from Fantasy Gypsy 🙂 I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog(comments really do make my day :). Your blog is uber cute, I must follow!

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  3. I agree with almost everything in your review. I just attempted to read Wildwood (or, as I began to call it after a few chapters, “Hipster Narnia”), but had to stop about 300 pages in. Much as I wanted to love the book, I agree it lacked the magic (as well as the momentum; the pacing really seemed off and there were too many characters and factions for me to get attached to any of them) of other juvenile literature of the same length. Usually after investing 300 pages worth I would just slog through the other 200 to say I’d finished it, but the way Meloy portrayed the parents (they are, as you say, callous and irresponsible) clinched it for me.

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