Alex's Reviews > Wildwood

Wildwood by Colin Meloy
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Aug 03, 2012

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When a songwriter as singular as The Decemberists' Colin Meloy decides to write a fantasy novel for kids, it's time to put aside whatever book one is currently reading and take a plunge. Though Wildwood has officially made the list of books I plan on reading to my future kids, I was hoping for something more in tune with any of the songs from their album Picaresque." Meloy's way with words was definitely present, but it didn't grab me in the same way that "The Mariner's Revenge Song" did--which is okay. Meloy is still a more talented writer than many other industry regulars.

The story follows the adventures of Prue McKeel, a young girl living in Portland, Oregon. One day, her little brother Mac is abducted by a murder of crows and carried North into a land that all maps of Portland, Oregon have marked as "Impassable Wilderness." Not shirking her sisterly responsibilities, Prue--with the help of a schoolmate named Curtis--forges her way into this mysterious realm. It turns out, the Impassable Wilderness is actually a world called Wildwood which is populated by talking animals, bandits and mystics.

There's definitely a Narnia-esque quality to Wildwood, but it's tossed with a healthy dose of Americana which makes an interesting combination. I also liked how Meloy's fantasy world is tinged with a little bit of darkness--The Dowager Governess's plans with Prue's brother are truly macabre. It adds a level of urgency to the story that moved the plot along nicely. There's a bit of a dry spell before the novel's climax, but other than that, this is a charming book that makes me want to investigate this Impassable Wilderness north of Portland a bit closer.
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