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Eden Sisters #1

Into the Woods

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Taking inspiration from numerous fairytales and weaving them into a wholly original story, Into the Woods is a whirlwind of a novel, full of imaginative happenings and dastardly deeds.

427 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Lyn Gardner

23 books43 followers
Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name

Lyn Gardner is the author of Olivia’s First Term and the other Olivia books. She was born in London and now lives near Richmond Park with her partner and two daughters. A theatre critic for The Guardian, she goes to the theatre five or six nights a week, which should leave no time for writing books at all. Before she became a journalist, Lyn was a tea lady, a waitress and sold advertising space for a magazine called Sludge. Her ambitions are to learn to tap dance and walk the high wire, but it may have to be the low wire as she is a bit scared of heights!

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5 stars
473 (37%)
4 stars
427 (33%)
3 stars
281 (22%)
2 stars
71 (5%)
1 star
23 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 173 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,824 reviews48.3k followers
March 15, 2022
this book has everything:
- fairytale retellings
- incredible descriptions of sweets that i still remember 14 years, several traumas, multiple terrible haircuts (bangs, really?) and my entire adolescence later
- sisters
- evil witches
- adventure
- nonstop happenings
- jokes on jokes on jokes

it was heaven for 10 year old me and i pray i remember to return to it someday.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,005 followers
April 12, 2015
I'm too old for this one. I assume the reader is meant to identify with Storm and her desire for adventure, but my sympathies were all with the older sister Aurora and her endless, thankless grind of housework and trying to take care of her willful, self-centered brat of a protagonist sister with no money or help from her lazy, self-centered parents.

And what is up with the names? Storm Eden and Aurora Eden? This is supposed to historical fiction, isn't it? Not that I could tell exactly when it was meant to be set, but before Modern Technology.
Profile Image for Natalie.
226 reviews97 followers
May 30, 2012
Into the Woods is a fairytale mashup of mainly a feminist take on The Pied Piper, but with also The Snow Queen, Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood.

I originally wrote a very long and winding review about this, then realized I was putting way too much analyzation into a simple children's book.

Or maybe not: much of the action and goriness (thankfully mainly unDisneyfied and mainly true to Anderson/Grimm work) seems too graphic or just inappropriate for younger children. Topics like cannibalism, kidnapping, forced/underage marriage and slavery are covered in the book, and the sheer size is for an older audience: at 428 pages, is longer than the young adult book I just finished.

Had I been in Gardner's shoes, I would have edited this to make it a young adult book, as it has a very promising premise and characters.

Among our cast:
Storm was our brave heroine, and I would have loved to see this in her first person. Third person has become increasingly irritating to me, especially when executed poorly. I loved her tunic-and-boots, defiant, stupidly-brave personality, despite her occasional childish tantrums.
I think we should have focused more on how Storm had this special talent, and of the three, was the only one able to play the pipe, however.
One of the few characters I wasn't enthralled by. While I understand she fills the "practical" role of the sisters, she came off as decidedly Sue-ish to me.
Any character named "Anything" is practically guaranteed to be awesome. I liked Any a lot, but would have made her older, like around eight probably, because talking babies are just random to me and don't make much sense...
Sort of the "wise" aspect of the three.
Dr. DeWilde
A mashup of , who doesn't love a good villain?
And thank you, Ms. Gardner, for having a villain an actual reason he's off for revenge on three seemingly innocent girls with a seemingly inconsequential flute! at its worst.
Anyhow, bonus points for that.
Anyone else reminded of Leck from Graceling, by the way?
Oh, Kai, you two-faced little bastard.
Kai was a great character, where was he throughout the whole book?!?!? More Kai, please!
I also think that he and Storm had WAY more chemistry than him and Aurora. I mean, Aurora doesn't have chemistry with anyone because she's so god-damned annoying.
Anyway, I can picture the four of them on the run, trekking through the woods with Storm and Kai arguing every five minutes...Aww...
But since this wasn't a romance (which on one hand irritated me because Storm and Kai were perfect, and on the other hand was refreshing) it became a touchy-feely "sisters together forever!" kind of thing. Ohh, Lyn, you lost me...
If only she'd just stuck with the heart-racing plot she'd created (minus the candy house, that was cliche) the story would probably have been four stars. But no, we have our "heartfelt" sister story that was so cheesy it almost turned into a Disney movie.
Aside from that, though, there was bunch of awesome characters, and my main issue was that it very much treated itself like a book for small children, but had the potential for a great YA book instead. So it was sort of neither. But I will be returning for the sequel, don't get me wrong.
Profile Image for Mary.
362 reviews5 followers
February 25, 2013
Another reviewer described this book as slightly manic and I would have to agree with that assessment of the pacing. Once it gets going they are facing death over and over and over with no breathing room, lots of terror and tears and it is a bit exhausting. The plot conflicts are aided by the main character's sharp perception or unbelievable obtuseness. The difficulties and plot progressions were too easy and too hard to overcome at the same time and it just didn't work for me. And then after this breakneck pace of terror and misery and woe the main character realizes that she loves that kind of life and is meant for it. Again, unbelievable because there is no indication that she feels anything positive during this. No swelling of courage or hope of triumph or pleasure in her own strength or realization that others are helping her and she can do this. It's all death and doom and despair. I didn't enjoy The Series of Unfortunate Events books for many of the same reasons. I will acknowledge that it was an interesting twist on some familiar fairy tales.
Profile Image for Sharkie.
453 reviews
April 3, 2020
I first read this novel ages ago, and remember liking it so much it found a place on my favourites shelf. Yep, it meant that much to me.

And on this reread, honestly? It still deserves it place.

This book is just a fun fairy tale adventure focusing on sisterly love and fun. But it's also dark, in the way middle grade books sometimes can be. There's a lot of near death experiences.

But then theres also hilarity and fun, so it's absolutely a perfect mix for me.

And the images drawn by Mini Grey truly help set the scene, and make this book as amazing as it is.

Recommend this for (most likely older) children and adults alike! I think we all need a bit of fairy tale fun in our lives.
Profile Image for Sammy Cho.
1 review1 follower
June 10, 2017
A very clever mashup of many different fairytales. I picked it to read out loud to a younger (not by much) sibling and ended up enjoying it as much as she did despite my slightly higher-than-intened-audience age!
Profile Image for Peyton.
288 reviews8 followers
May 13, 2016
Delightful and whimsical and fun. This story is like A Series of Unfortunate Events rolled into the Flavia De Luce books with a dash of the Grimms and Andersen. I laughed out loud several times, and continually found myself wondering what was going to happen next. I enjoyed the contrast between the two sisters, and especially liked sweet-but-wicked Mrs. Bumble (who owes something to Delores Umbridge but is still pleasantly horrifying in her own right).

Lyn Gardner understands that children have brains, and she writes accordingly. This is definitely a kids' book, but Gardner spares neither ghost story spookiness, fairy tale bloodshed, or real life anxieties. The result is a story with punch and a happy ending that feels satisfactorily hard-won.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Phyllida Nash. Nash's lovely voice was a wonderful choice: she takes on a series of brogues, lilts, and growls that make the characters sparkle with life. The effect is akin to listening to a loving nanny read a bedtime story.
Profile Image for Karen Ball.
484 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2016
Wild! This is a fractured fairy tale -- it's actually several fairy tales fractured and pieced together. Sounds a bit like Frankenstein, doesn't it? The Eden sisters, Aurora, Storm and Any, live on a run-down estate at the edge of their village, which is in the middle of a rat infestation. The mysterious and scary Dr. DeWilde appears, surrounded by drooling and snapping wolves, and promisese to handle the rat problem -- but the town MUST pay wht he asks. What does he want? Children! He also wants the small metal pipe that Storm's mother gave her just before she died, telling her that it is powerful. Dr. DeWilde and the wolves chase the sisters across the landscape of several fairy tales (Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, the Snow Queen, etc) and the sisters discover the real power they have -- the love of family. Lots of hilarious jokes and funny references to fairy tale characters, but also some serious choices and consequences that the girls have to deal with. Very enjoyable!
Profile Image for Kari Hilmanowski.
85 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2014
I stumbled upon this book, purchasing it by impulse (I can't contain myself when I come in contact with fairytales!). I was not disappointed. This is by far the best fairytale I have read in such a long time. The book had everything- adventure, mystery, frightening parts, along with sisterly bonds that were unbreakable! Even though there were hints of other tales mentioned here and there, entwined within the story- Into the Woods is a story all in itself that I couldn't put down. I was enthralled at Lyn Gardner's creativity from beginning to end, and loving how she was able to keep the feel of an old-time fairytale within the pages of something so new and original. It will, like other reviews mentioned,be loved mainly by girls, as the story focuses around three main characters who are sisters. However, there is enough scare, wolves, and an evil Dr. to entertain the boys as well! Plus, it is just one of those stories that will intruige those of all ages. I am 31, and loved it, and can't wait to read it to my little girls who are 8 and 11. I wish Gardner would write another!
Profile Image for Renetta.
112 reviews17 followers
June 25, 2012

Every few books I throw a young reader into the mix, looking for books to read to my granddaughter when she's older. I chose this book because the main characters name is Aurora, same as my granddaughter. I about fell over when they introduced the character Netta Truelove. My friends have always called me Netta. It's as if it were written for us. There's a recipe at the back of the book that I'll be making to eat while we read it. The book was full of adventure and fun to read. There were even other characters similar to our immediate family. It's going to be on our bookshelf for a very long time.
Profile Image for Sand-Witch.
153 reviews
September 21, 2017
People need to read this book. This has always been one of my favourite books ever. Idek why hardly anyone has read it. The story is a masterpiece that weaves in fairytales in not a babyish way. This book includes amazing characters and the plot is unpredictable. ( tho sometimes really predictable). The illustrations in it are amazing. I just love how the story unfolds. The entire book just leaves you sitting there like woah, what just happened. When you reach the end of the story, it just gives you a nice fluffy feeling inside. The story is haunting and will follow you into your daydreams for weeks after. Just. Read. It. Give this book some appreciation.Thank you
Profile Image for Lanie.
11 reviews1 follower
August 24, 2009
An incredible twist on quite a few well-known fairy tales, this book is one of my personal favorites. After their mother dies and their father refuses to do much but weep in his room, the three sisters Aurora, Storm, and Anything must fend for themselves. Little do they know that soon they will have to defend themselves against wolves, an orphanage that's too sweet to be true, an ogress with a taste for games, and the so called exterminator Dr. DeWilde, who can't wait to get his hands on the three ''almost orphans'' once and for all...
Profile Image for Prim.
54 reviews14 followers
January 23, 2018
I was looking through my bookshelf, and came across this book. And was reminded of how much I loved it. For a school-aged kid, this was real fun. I loved the whole fairytale set-up, loved the adventures, loved the characters, loved it all.
But do keep in mind that the love I had for this was, say, 8 years ago now?
Nevertheless, this was one of my favourite books as a kid, or I would not have been able to remember this today.
Profile Image for Camila.
7 reviews
January 9, 2021
This book is truly amazing. I first read it when I was in 7th grade, and this year I'm graduating and I'm re reading it again. This book is truly a work of art, with characters you'll never forget. Every time I finish a chapter I wanna continue. I can't put this book down. This book is on my shelf and is listed as my fav book. I LOVE IT
Profile Image for S. Wigget.
744 reviews34 followers
September 18, 2018
This is a whimsical middle grade fantasy novel based on fairy tales, particularly the Pied Piper. I fluctuated between being delighted at the whimsy ("jelly babies of doom") and wanting Aurora to slap Storm (the protagonist). I kept wanting Aurora's or Anything's perspective, not just Storm's. But I did sympathize with Storm sometimes, particularly at the gingerbread house.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lauren Moye.
32 reviews44 followers
January 28, 2015
This was another one of those bizarre library books that I, to this day, have no idea how or why I found. It made me inexplicably uncomfortable, and I'm pretty sure that it's to blame for several reoccurring nightmares. Remembering reading this STILL makes my skin crawl, to be honest.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
54 reviews2 followers
November 19, 2013
An absolutely wonderful read-aloud book. My boys (11&9) loved it. So did I!!!! The sisters are great and the use of the Grimm tales is fun and inventive.
Profile Image for Abby.
8 reviews
March 24, 2016
A wonder of a book consisting of unexpected turns, twisted fairy tails and their twisted characters, and imagination.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
9,271 reviews398 followers
Shelved as 'xx-dnf-skim-reference'
November 9, 2016
She "scoffed" her sandwich. Just a stupid book.
Profile Image for عمرو العروسي.
Author 6 books53 followers
June 2, 2020
سيد الذئاب والأخوات الثلاثة.

رواية خيالية جميلة متلاحقة الأحداث إن تم تنفيذها في فيلم للرسوم المتحركة فسوف تنجح نجاح باهر يمكن أن تستخدم كحكاية قبل النوم للأطفال. تحكي عن أسرة صغيرة من أب وأم واثنين من البنات "أورور" بنت ال 18 عام، و"آليس" التي تصغرها بسنوات، وأثناء ما تلد الأم البنت الثالثة "نيكو" تحتضر، وقبل أن تلفظ الأم أنفاسها الأخيرة تستدعي الأخت الوسطى وتعهد إليها بـ "فلوت" (الة موسيقية) وتوصيها أن تحرص عليها وتحافظ عليها فأنها ذات نفع كبير وأثر عظيم.

بعد أن ماتت الأم يحزن الأب ويرغب عن الطعام لأيام ثم يختفي عن بناته ويتركهم وحدهم، تعتمد البنتين على بعضهما البعض حتى يستطيعون تربية نيكو الصغيرة، لكن يظهر لأورور فتى جميل، اسم الفتى "كيت" وكان لكيت مظهر عجيب رغم جماله، فكان له عين باللون الأزرق والأخرى باللون الأخضر، وطلب كيت من أورور الفلوت وفكرت أورور بالفعل أن تعطيه إياه لأنهم كانوا في حاجة إلى المال، لكنها عدلت عن رأيها في اللحظات الأخيرة، وهنا يظهر دكتور سوفاج الذي يسعى وراء الفلوت بكل قوته، ويهجم على منزل الأخوة الثلاثة، فيهربون منه إلى الغابة.
في الغابة وبعد أيام تجد الأخوة منزل من الحلوى تحت رعاية سيدة تدعى "مدام بوني بون بون" فتستقبل الفتيات وتقدم لهم الحلوى اللذيذة ليسمنوا ويستكينوا، لكن تكتشف أليس أن مدام بوني تضع مواد سحرية في الحلوى حتى تسيطر على الأطفال، فتحاول الهرب بأخوتها فتنجح أن تهرب بأورور في حين ما تختفي نيكو، التي أخذها دكتور سوفاج من مدام بوني حتى يعملوا لديه في جمع المجوهرات واستخراجها من الأرض.

تقابل آليس صديقتها القديمة مدام نانيت التي تنصحها بزيارة الغولة الملقبة بـ "مدام كروشوا" لتأخذ من قصرها المفتاح والخريطة اللازمين للوصول لدكتور سوفاج وإنقاذ نيكو، وتوصيهم بأن المفتاح والخريطة يجب أن يتم أخذهم برضاء الغولة وإلا سوف تأكلهم، وبالفعل تدخل الأختين القصر لكن آليس تستعجل وتحاول سرقة الخريطة والمفتاح، فتمسك "مدام كروشوا" بهم وتحبسهم لكنها تعرف أنهم أحفاد أحفادها، فتقرر العفو عنهم، خاصة انها لم تكن تأكل الأطفال بالفعل، لكنها كانت تنتفع من تلك السمعة لحماية نفسها من أطفال القرية الذين يرمونها بالحجارة.

ينضم الجميع إلى بعضهم البعض لإنقاذ نيكو من براثن دكتور سوفاج، لكن دكتور سوفاج يأسرهم جميعاً ويأخذ الفلوت من أورور ويطردها وحدها من قلعته ويحتفظ بالجدة والأختين الأخريين.

يقرر الدكتور سوفاج الزواج من أورور ويجهز ليوم الزفاف لكن ينقصه مختص بالألعاب النارية لتتممه الاحتفال فتتقدم اليس للوظيفة وتحضر أورق من الشجر يتأذى منها دكتور سوفاج كثيراً، تنجح اليس في الحصول على الوظيفة وتقترب من الدكتور سوفاج وتقذفه بأوراق الشجر التي يتأذى منها فيظهر على حقيقته وأنه ذئب كبير، يحاول دكتور سوفاج في هذه اللحظة استخدام الفلوت للسيطرة على جموع الناس التي بدأت في الانقلاب ضده لكن لم يفلح الأمر معه.
تستمر آليس في مطاردته حتى تنتصر عليه مرة أخرى وتأخذ منه الفلوت ويموت سيد الذئاب ومعه مدام بوني بون بون، وتعود الأخوات الثلاثة إلى منزلهم بعد تلك المغامرة ليجدوا أن أباهم قد عاد ليعيشوا جميعهم معاً مرة أخرى، لكن بعد أيام يترك الأب المنزل مرة أخرى ليقوم برحلة من رحلاته ويترك الأخوة الثلاثة مع عبضهم البعض، دائماً وحدهم... ودائماً مع بعضهم البعض.
Profile Image for Nina.
6 reviews1 follower
July 10, 2018
It took me forever to find this book again! I read it when I was about 12 and LOVED it more than I’ve ever loved a book... It’s a perfect blend of my favorite things: adventure, fairy tales, woods, and family. It took some unexpected turns which kept me on my feet—I was never sure when an antagonist might pop out from inside the eerie woods...
Can’t wait to buy it and reread it for a nice dose of nostalgia!
Profile Image for Leigh.
671 reviews7 followers
August 5, 2018
Into the Woods is a loose retelling of the pied piper with a lot of other Fairy Tales mixed in. There's nothing particularly bad about the book but it just feels much bigger than it needs to be. Nearly 450 pages. By the end I was pretty much over it. Hard to say what someone of the age would think.
Profile Image for Cym.
282 reviews39 followers
November 16, 2019
Fast-paced and exciting. But it’s a wonder how the sisters could survive their continuous perilous adventures. I am reminded of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Even one of the unexpected sisters have an amazing ability.
1 review
December 2, 2019
This book is full of magic. it is a daring story with magic and surprise. It is one of my favorite books of all time. Lyn Gardner is an amazing author with amazing story's full of thrill. They has some humor but not much. I would recommend it.
February 10, 2022
Czytanie tej książki pomogło mi pokochać czytanie i umilić czas gdy leżałam w szpitalu . Przeczytana na jednym oddechu , wciągająca i ciekawa . Jej czytanie to super zabawa a zwroty akcji są niespodziewane nadal ją wspominam czasem jako bardzo mile doświadczenie
344 reviews
May 10, 2022
I’d been wanting to read this for years, ever since my 14 year old fell in love with it when she was in grade school, and finally got around to it. I can see how it’s endearing to that upper grade school age group. It was a fun, light, interesting mashup of the old fables and fairytales.
Profile Image for shell .
148 reviews
June 28, 2017
Read this in like 4th grade. I remember loving it. One of the very first "chapter books" I've ever read. Year is accurate, month and day are random.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 173 reviews

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