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(Wildwood Chronicles #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  29,329 ratings  ·  3,612 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
Paperback, 576 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Balzer + Bray (first published August 30th 2011)
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Mekiah Johnson I'm 15 years old, and I loved the book.
I sometimes wonder myself why the book is recommended for children, but still, I think almost anyone can enjoy…more
I'm 15 years old, and I loved the book.
I sometimes wonder myself why the book is recommended for children, but still, I think almost anyone can enjoy it. Maybe the writing style was the problem, it was very heavy. But otherwise, I thought it was a good book. I read it in a month, which, in my opinion, says something. This book struggles to fit an age group, and honestly, like I said, can appeal to anyone. The complex words, the illustrations, the story. It can appeal to a wide range of adults, kids and teens. Although, it's not something for everyone. (less)
Mekiah Johnson I don't know if this answers you're question, but the writing style isn't for everyone. …moreI don't know if this answers you're question, but the writing style isn't for everyone. (less)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Miranda Reads
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Prue felt like someone had bored a hole in her stomach the size of a basketball.
Prue has always lived in Portland, on the edges of a great and wondrous forest.

She never gave it much thought...that is until her one-year-old brother (Mac) was carried off by a flock of crows to the heart of the forest.

So, she does what any child would do...go after him with her friend Curtis.

However, they soon realize that this will NOT be a simple grab-and-go. The forest, or better known as the Wildwo
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011

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
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
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 Meloy of The Decemberists? I thought. Yeah, right, and he'd be at a young adult liter
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  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
EDIT: I decided it really wasn't fair to compare this book with a TV show that came out after it. Also the second book in the series was a big improvement on this one and made me like it a bit better.

Prue McKeel is a twelve-year-old from Portland, tasked with watching her baby brother while their parents spend the day at the craft fair. Prue transports baby Mac in the little red wagon hitched to her bicycle, and the infant is carried off by crows. Prue follows the crows into the woods, right to
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
"It's better to live presently. By living thus, perhaps we can learn to understand the nature of this fragile coexistence we share with the world around us."

I believe that this book was written with impeccable technique. Within its genre - middle grade fantasy/adventure - it really shines for length and complexity; and the author shows a maturity which even some adult fantasy authors can't compete with. Unfortunately, even though this book was technically very good, it wasn't as enjoyable; espe
The Chuck
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Desi (Pastel Pages)
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middlegrade
This gave me all The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe vibes and I LOVED IT.
I DNF-ed this book in the end, despite reading over 80% of it I just didn't enjoy it. The more I read, the less I liked it... and that's a real shame when it comes to a kids book, because they are often so imaginative and wonderful, but this one just left me cold. I will say that the illustrations within this are lovely, and I had no issue at all with them, in fact they were a large part of why I persevered because I was at least enjoying them, but then it just got too long and tedious for me an ...more
Brigid ✩
Oh my gosh, I loved this. A really good story, and beautiful illustrations!

Full review coming soon.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
I couldn't get into this one.

The cover is gorgeous, the writing is strong, and the vocabulary fantastic, but the storyline just didn't grab me at all, and the level of war and politics felt very adult - in the dullest sense of the word. It took almost a month to get through and I skimmed the last few chapters to get to the end, and I can't quite put my finger on why as it certainly isn't bad...
Nhi Le (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
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
Dec 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tiffany Liu
This book is a promising start to a series, introducing a magic wood just outside Portland—a wood with talking animals, sentient trees, coyote soldiers, corrupt governments and highway bandits. It is fascinating and imaginative, with a fairytale-ish quality for MG readers, as well as twists creepy and dark enough for adult readers. The plot is not super complicated, as this book is about introducing the world, but the solutions didn’t feel too convenient, and the plot is great in that it’s unpre ...more
Christine Norvell
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A super clever adventure, Wildwood was a fun read with amazing illustrations. I only lowered my ranking because of the morally distressing situations like a potential baby sacrifice. For grades 4-8, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want my own kids to read it yet. ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This was a delightful story! It's such a satisfying read - long, but easy to finish, great for both an adult or a child to read. I absolutely loved the world of Wildwood - a little like the society you see in Wind in the Willows - talking animals, living alongside humans. I absolutely love those kinds of stories. Another thing I liked a lot is that it includes both a girl and a boy, and spends roughly the same amount of time on these two characters - a wonderful example of inclusion, as well as ...more
I sort of liked it, ish. It wasn't super good but it was better than ok (edit: it's not). Well-written enough, but Pru (the main character) is just not likeable and I wanted to see her character change and become less of a brat and a know-it-all. No wonder she doesn't have any friends in school if she's always correcting her parents and telling them it was a murder of crows, not a flock.

Here are all the reasons I didn't like the book.

1. I know parents put their kids in charge of their siblings.
'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
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
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
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
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
Adam Silvera
Recommended for readers who are looking to take a stroll through Wildwood who won't mind stopping to smell every rose, so to speak. Meloy's inspiration of the wood in Portland is captured vividly and illustrated dutifully by Ellis. This book's also for the reader who enjoys little episodes that may not necessarily impact the story, but adds an extra spark between the pages. The story felt complete and left enough up in the air to answer with its upcoming sequel which I'll certainly pick up.
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Colin Patrick Henry Meloy 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 33⅓ series.

Meloy was born in Helena

Other books in the series

Wildwood Chronicles (3 books)
  • Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #2)
  • Wildwood Imperium (Wildwood Chronicles, #3)

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