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Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  13,512 ratings  ·  2,160 reviews
For fans of The Chronicles of Narnia comes the first book in the Wildwood Chronicles, the New York Times bestselling fantasy adventure series by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of The Mysterious Benedict Society.

In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full
ebook, 576 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Balzer + Bray (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 30, 2011 Carmine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5th up that like a loooooooooong read
2 for the writing + 4 for the illustrations which are amazing = 3 over all. I nearly abandoned after the Portland hipster preciousness of the first chapter. Seriously, apparently we needed to establish that 12 year old Prue rides a single speed bike and cruises the new used bins at the record store- very important for aesthetic. Also, it is probably a good thing the crows took the baby because eventually she was going to do some damage hauling him around in a flippin' red wagon tied to her bike ...more

It's a 541-page middle grade fiction fantasy that bored me to tears (except for one story about Prue's parents that was the only part I found interesting and I'd much rather have read about that for 541 pages). Meloy and Ellis call this work a love letter to the woods of Portland, Oregon, and a true collboration between their work. And that's admirable and beautiful, but I tried to quit this book a hundred times, until I realized I had already read so many pages tha
Katie Bruce
I finally finished this book!!! I think it took me 2.5 months to get through this galley? That's usually not a good sign if it's taking me that long to finish something. To be fair, this book is a chunker--541 pages, to be precise. The concept was actually really fun, in the beginning. A sort of Narnia-meets-Portland kind of thing, but I got bogged down in the language and style really quickly. I mean, it's GREAT to have some complex vocab in a middle grade novel, for sure, but there were defini ...more
I first picked up this book because, I cannot lie, I love the Decemberists. After cracking open the first couple pages I was swept into the seedlings of a great adventure. The world created by Meloy is so close to our own yet so far apart. It takes place in the "Impassable Wilderness" of Portland. And by the end of the book I was thinking if I went to Portland I too would be able to find this magic forest existing today just beyond my imagination.
It has everything I love: adventure! birds! anim
What an enjoyable read this was.

I confess to entering into this novel with conflicting feelings. I attended a young adult literature conference back in October. As we were getting settled in to listen to the keynote speaker (no less than Mike Lupica, not to drop names or anything . . . ), I caught glimpse of a confusingly familiar face moving across the periphery of the large, crowded room: Isn't that Colin Maloy of The Decemberists? I thought. Yeah, right, and he'd be at a young adult liter
Mar 10, 2012 Lily rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not a damn soul
Recommended to Lily by: book club

I know an emoticon is not a review, but ...

There is nothing right about this book.

For one, it is ridiculously boring. The pacing is awful--by the end of the first half (so 300 pages in), it felt like absolutely nothing of import had happened. The characters are bland and unlovable, which is key when you're writing a timeless (read: totally stereotypical) fairy tale.

The plot often doesn't make sense. Now, I'm not saying that everything has to be explained--I don't care that some animals talk, a
The Chuck
This is a delight of a young-adult book.

After reading a number of reviews here and on amazon, I can only add to the discussion that the largest complaints seem to be that the vocabulary is troubling and perhaps not age appropriate. To that I say, "Buy a dictionary, suck it up, and read better books." All the praise that has already been doled out sums it up: it's a great tale that's just different enough from everything else in the genre of kids' fantasy to be really engaging and delightful.
The Rusty Key
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Ages 7 to 10, mainly as a read-aloud book for parents. The content is far beneath that, in maturity, of a true middle grade book, but the sheer heft of this volume will likely intimidate younger readers away from reading it themselves.

One Word Summary: Tedious.

Full disclosure: I stopped reading this book after 110 out of its whopping 541 pages. The notion of grinding through the next 431 pages was too discouraging, and I found it u
Halfway through this book, I got that sinking feeling.

That, oh no, this is a series, feeling.

I was going to want more, and more, and more, and after every book, I'd have to wait for the next one.

Happily, this first Wildwood novel ties up quite neatly and stands on its own. I'm not going to have to wonder what on earth happens next for the next few years, the desire for a new Wildwood novel warring with my desire for a new Decemberists album. Poor Colin... if he is one of my favorite singers AND
Really excellent. A proper review to come.

So, proper review - my main, shameful, criteria, for liking anything goes something like this: if I wish to have written, created, taken photograph, worn that item of clothing or thought of that - if I am a little bit jealous of not having come up with the idea - if I want to be the writer and the main character - that's what I love.
Wildwood made me feel both wistful for being twelve and reading it and pretending to be Prue and going on my own adventures
The Literary Bystander
Why is it that every time I hear/read about a story about a girl who sets out to rescue her baby brother from some magical creature in a whole fantasy-esque land, my thoughts immediately turn to Labyrinth? I mean, it was kind of hard for me to ignore it in The Iron King but I also got those type of vibes in this book too. But you know, without the awesomeness that is David Bowie.

Readers, please - contain yourself.

But eventually, as I continued reading - this book became this reminder of several
Fun fact: When my husband was a child he was in a community theater play with Colin Meloy. Also, I listened to a lot of Tarkio in college in Montana and love the Decemberists. So I came to this as a fan of Meloy and was excited to hear his take on an "American Narnia without all the Jesus" as I've heard it described.

But ye gods, what a snoozefest this turned out to be. I hated, hated, hated the main characters. I know this is supposed to be a fantasy, but seriously. What upper middle class Portl
'We are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we the children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos.'

Sometimes I wish I didn't give out star-ratings and only wrote reviews, I think sometimes that would be easier than feeling it necessary to justify a low rating despite the fact that I DID like it. But there were some big problems I had
So far so good. It reminds me of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, which was my favorite 2011 read.
Short version: I do not recommend Wildwood. I can't guarantee that a middle-grade aged reader wouldn't have been swept up by it, but I found it to be pretty boring. The illustrations were excellent, though.

Longer version: This book is the story of Prue, a twelve-year old, and her friend Curtis who venture into a huge, magical forest near Portland, Oregon to recover Prue's baby brother, who was kidnapped by crows. Inside the forest are several governments who squabble with each other and animals
Note: I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

For all the other reviews that rave, I suppose I shall have to add myself to the 'eh' category. It was okay. The elements to create an epic fantasy story were there- bandits, talking creatures, a stalwart young'un with a birth secret on a quest to save (part of) her family, princes and kings, the rising of armies to (sort of) follow said stalwart young'un, etc etc etc. It just didn't make it to the "spellbinding tale f
I picked this book up on the author's name alone. I'm a big Decemberists fan so there was no way I couldn't grab it. I have to say though that I was a bit disappointed.

Firstly I don't know who this book was truly made for. At 560 pages it's not a small book. Much too long for young children as well as quite dark and violent in places. For older children I don't think it is quite realistic in terms of characters or fantastical enough in setting. The lead character listens to vinyl and does yoga a
It should really come as no surprise that Colin Meloy would one day turn his spirited imagination to the world of young adult fiction. He has been crafting some of the most exquisitely lyrical songs in rock for over a decade now, from rowsings descriptions of an opulent caravan's entry into a city and odes to America's most famous spy to lengthy epics about bandits on mist-wrapped islands and revenge tales to put Monte Cristo to shame. With a mind so firmly rooted in grand tales of picaresque ch ...more
Wildwood earns four stars. Why? Because, as a book, as a physical object with a hard cover, dust jacket, paper and ink, color inset illustrations and maps, it is a wonder. It surrounds the story so well. A rare thing these days to feel such substance, that you are holding a work of art. Hats off to Meloy, Ellis, and their book designer, who should be acknowledged somewhere in the next edition. And to Harper Collins for not cutting any corners in its production.

The story itself is inventive and a
Sep 09, 2012 rachel marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kid-lit
Despite the whimsical setting of Wildwood, with soldier coyotes and avian guards, this book is disappointingly un-childlike. An eleven year old name drops Kurosawa. I don't believe they do that even in ultra hip Oregon, Colin Meloy.

...though reading about twelve year old Prue eating vegetarian and perusing record bins, whether ironically or unironically (does it even matter anymore whether hipsters are sincere or not?), gave me a hankering to watch Portlandia again. And there's nothing wrong wit
Prue's baby brother Mac has been spirited away by Crows into the Impassable wilderness of Wildwood. Curtis follows her and tries to help her find her brother. Coyotes split them up. Can they get back to each other save Mac, and get out of this magical world to go home? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read and the illustrations were beautiful. If you like Ya and fantasy stories, definitely check it out. I am going to wait until my library has the rest of the trilogy befor
I’m not a big Decemberist’s fan, although I know who they are, have heard some of their music, but it had nothing to do with my decision to read this book.

I suspect that this book is a must-read for any Portland area residents, It does require a high degree of leniency and a stretch of reality – but then again it isn’t meant to be a non-fiction book. A lot of people seem to have trouble with Prue’s character, but I read this largely because she reminded me a lot of the eldest of the youngest gr
Meh. I really liked the concept here: a sort of Alternate Portland with an Impassible Wilderness in St. John's, with the St. John's bridge as a ghostly portal. But I was pretty disappointed with the execution.

The language is often kind of overwritten and clunky. Prue and Curtis are not well-defined as characters; I wasn't even able to put my finger on how old Prue was supposed to be until she came right out and said she was twelve at one point. First I thought she was much younger, if precocious
Nick Scott
I was lucky to get an ARC of this book. I loved it. First of all, it's very well written. At the very beginning, when the little brother is abducted by the crows, I was a little weary, as it started off feeling like a Lemony Snicket wanna-be. Luckily the book hit its stride early and didn't falter the rest of the way. The basic concept of Wildwood, that there is a fantasy world in the real-life woods just outside of Portland, Oregon, is what made me want to read the book in the first place. Melo ...more
Okay, I'll be the first to say I really enjoyed Wildwood. It was fun and there was lots of references to obscure weaponry and some blood and guts and a lost baby and a bat-shit crazy Queen-falling-on-hard-times type. You know, all the reasons I'm kind of momentarily intrigued by the occasional Decembrists song. However, as a children's librarian, I found myself absolutely confused as to what child of my acquaintance might even be remotely interested in reading this. And man, I would be lying if ...more
I have been a fan of Colin Meloy's songwriting skills for almost ten years so when I started this book I assumed that I would love it, I didn't and I'm kind of bummed that it didn't live up to my expectations.

First, the book is definitely too long! I know that its part one of a series so there has to be a lot of building up, however, a good hundred pages could probably be edited out of this book. There are several key scenes that drag on too long and as a result any excitement or suspense tha
The ways in which this book is not for me are numberless, infinite, and really big. The words in this book which could have been eradicated, eliminated, removed and erased without marring the plot are legion, a host, plus a lot. The love Meloy has for helping words, adjectives, and descriptors is prodigious and bountiful. The animals wear clothes for no discernible reason. Plus they use weapons and tools and pencils and other things which require either opposable thumbs or some magical explanati ...more
This debut novel from the singer-songwriter of The Decemberists is worth all kinds of praise. I first heard this described as an "American Narnia, without all the religion" and that's not too bad of a description. From the very beginning the reader is sucked in, as main character Prue's baby brother is suddenly and inexplicably carried off by a murder of crows. Not long after that we discover that the setting, Portland, is also home to the mysterious and disapproving Impassable Wilderness, into ...more
Prue liebt ihren kleinen Bruder Mac und es macht ihr auch überhaupt nichts aus, sich um ihn zu kümmern. Doch als sie wieder einmal mit ihm auf dem Spielplatz ist, passiert etwas schreckliches: Ein Schwarm Krähen packt sich Mac und fliegt mit ihm in die undurchdringliche Wildnis, die noch kein Mensch betreten hat, oder zumindest kam noch nie jemand zurück. Für Prue ist ganz klar, dass sie ihren Bruder retten muss und sie macht sich auf den Weg zum Wald. Unterwegs trifft sie auf ihren nervigen Kla ...more
First Second Books
Gina: I love how illustrations can set the tone for a text, because these definitely did! Carson Ellis’ pen-and-watercolor illustrations (with occasional color plates) felt old-fashioned and Portland-y and exactly the thing you want to be reading when it comes time to be sweaterweather – coincidentally now!
Mark: Still slowly savoring WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy and it's delightful in every
way. Regardless of the controversy about whether this is YA or not, this
one is a treat.
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Colin Patrick Henry Meloy (born October 5, 1974) is the lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon folk-rock band The Decemberists. In addition to his vocal duties, he plays acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, and percussion. As of 2005, Meloy has written a 100-page book on The Replacements' fourth album, Let It Be, released as part of the 33 series.

More about Colin Meloy...

Other Books in the Series

Wildwood Chronicles (3 books)
  • Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #2)
  • Wildwood Imperium (Wildwood Chronicles, #3)
Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #2) Wildwood Imperium (Wildwood Chronicles, #3) Let it Be Wildwood Chronicles Complete Collection: Wildwood, Under Wildwood, Wildwood Imperium The Grievous Demise of Mr. Whitley Rackham

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“We are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we the children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos.” 37 likes
“As she walked, she breathed a quick benediction to the patron saint of sleuthing. "Nancy Drew," she whispered, "be with me now.” 23 likes
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