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Darkwood

(The Darkwood Series #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  102 reviews
You mustn't go into the Darkwood, children. Not even to get your ball. Leave it. That ball belongs to the Witches and the Beasties, now. Those wicked Witches. Stealing your ball. Magic is forbidden in Myrsina, along with various other abominations, such as girls doing maths. This is bad news for Gretel Mudd, who doesn't perform magic, but does know a lot of maths. When her ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Farrago (first published June 13th 2019)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  276 ratings  ·  102 reviews


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Schizanthus Nerd
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so much fun! I can’t wait for the sequel!
Do not go into the Darkwood, children. It’s a cursed place, and so big and so dangerous that once you go in you’ll never come out again. You’ll become just another lost creature, aimlessly wandering amongst those black and twisted trees forever. Even the dead aren’t safe in the Darkwood. Nobody is safe.
Gretel lives in Nearby Village with her twin, Hansel, and their stepparents. Unfortunately for Gretel, she’s female so she must be very c
...more
Stephanie
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked up Darkwood when I heard that it was a funny, twisted fairytale adventure written by one of the writers of the Horrible Histories TV show (which I love) - and it did turn out to be very funny (I laughed out loud so many times!) but also sweet and full of heart, with fabulously lovable characters as well as some very creepy ones, and a sharp (and topical) look at the ways in which scary authoritarian movements can take hold in society.

Mostly, though, I just loved all the characters in th
...more
Erika
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to read early for an honest review.

This book is hilarious! The Afterward mentioned the author was inspired by Shrek and the Discworld novels and I can really see that.

When I saw the cover, I immediately thought of the Black Knight from Monty Python and I think that was intentional - this story is very satirical.

It's everything you love about fairy tales, but is very aware of itself. I loved these versions of Hansel & Gretel, Jack, Snow, and the rest. And I abs
...more
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Darkwood by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch may be perfect for you if you're looking for a funny MG fantasy adventure story. It took me a minute to get into the writing style (it's in present tense), but once you do you'll be hooked. I loved all of the fairy tale elements that the author managed to tie together so seamlessly from Hansel and Gretel, Snow, Jack and everyone. Even better is the sense of humor - it's very self aware, by the w
...more
Soup
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and humorous riff on common fairy tale lore. Gretel and her brother Hansel live with their stepmother and stepfather (yes, both are "step," no-one knows why) at the edge of cursed forest (it's dangerous, but the housing prices cannot be beat!) and within the confines of a kingdom under the sway of the Huntsmen who outlaw nearly everything they find personally offensive like witches, magic, and girls knowing math. Gretel can't quite contain her cleverness however and she soon ...more
˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
**this was sent to me by the publishers through netgalley, all thoughts are my own**

omfg guys this was amazing.

this is a middle grade fairytale retelling of hansel & gretal, snow white, and others as witches who have been banished by the power-hungry huntsmen and it was everything I could ever ask for.

this gives me ALL the monty python and shrek vibes and it SO DAMN GOOD.

the humor, the characters, the story, the MESSAGE of corruption and perceptions of truth was breathtaking. ((also I totally
...more
Agatha Lund
There are plenty of very good and great retelling of various fairy tales and so on in YA and middle grade novels, but this was particularly clever and particularly unique. Funny, lovely writing, with both a good resolution and a jumping off point for the sequel. I adored it.
Tina
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read. It’s definitely more juvenile than what I normally read but that make it something fun I would read to my kids. It’s humorous and clean and fun for the whole family.
Samantha
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 4-6th graders
Recommended to Samantha by: KC
A delightfully silly middle grade fairytale with a twist.
Anjana
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a retelling of many fairy tales rolled into one quirky story. It is along the lines of the drama 'Once upon a time' in terms of its content. There is a flippancy in the conversation and the humour lies in the delivery and the situation that we are witnessing. 
Hansel and Gretel live with their step-parents in a little village where they get orders from power at the citadel on how to conduct their daily lives and how things are supposed to work. When Gretel is suspected of being a witch an
...more
Bojana
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I must wonder why people (better say adults) are skeptical about middle grade books. I read a lot of middle grade books and enjoyed them. If book is written properly there should not be this sort of classification. Also, since this story is some kind of satire (it explores themes of authoritarianism and intolerance), I'm not even sure that it should be placed into the group of middle grade books.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. As I am a huge fan of fairy tales and at the same time very s
...more
Stephanie
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
A dark, sarcastic, and freaking hilarious retelling of Hansel and Gretel, with a few other fairy tales thrown in.
Gretel bites off a whole lot more than she can chew when she escapes into the Darkwood and accidentally joins a gang of witches. But she can handle it, she can do maths.
It reminds me a bit of Discworld and it was nice to see that the author did get inspiration from that among other sarcastic magical stories.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kristin Boes
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gretel Mudd is cast out of her village by the sinister Huntsmen, who label her an abomination for enjoying math and engineering. She seeks sanctuary in the mysterious Darkwood, and falls in with an adorably motley crew of misfits, including a talking spider, a witch who is the Midas of baked goods, and a White Night whose backstory was a fun surprise I won't spoil.

This book was an absolute delight from start to finish. It's a fairy tale satire, yes, but pokes fun at the genre without being mean
...more
Jay Harley
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superbly funny, brilliant storytelling

Absolutely loved this book, some gorgeous warm characters and a gripping story - I can't wait for part two. Has a touch of Terry Pratchett to the humour - and I absolutely adored the chapter titles. Massive five stars.
...more
Aimee
A very fun and enjoyable read, with a healthy dose of satire thrown in. The book verges on heavy-handed at times but it is aimed at young teens / middle grade after all.
Bunny McFoo
This was truly delightful and charming as all heck.
Lisa
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a romp of a read this was! Fabulously funny fairy tale mash up with lots of familiar names appearing, and some brilliant original characters - may have to start a fan club for Trevor the talking spider ❤
Witty, wise, and wonderfully weird. Will look forward to the next adventure into the Darkwood, as long as it's not on a Monday....
...more
Kaitlyn
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks, netgalley
This book was a treat! I received my copy as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was a fun conglomeration of multiple fairytales, but with a dark twist. There were times that I felt like I was reading a children’s story and happily reliving my childhood, while there were others where the darkness felt like a crime novel. This combination in the subtle hints at so many fairytales we know well made the book quite enjoyable. My only regret is not brushing up on my fair ...more
Jess
Check out this review and more on my blog!

I received an eARC of Darkwood from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


One of my favourite tropes in fantasy is the banned/outlawed magic trope, so as soon as I came across this Middle Grade novel on NetGalley, which not only includes that trope but also follows a girl with an interest in STEM, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

Darkwood is the first book in a new fantasy MG series following Gretel Mudd, who ends up chased away from her home of Nea
...more
Claire O-P
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
There’s been a real trend for grimdark in fantasy fiction over the last few years, and it has produced some amazing work, but with the final Discworld novel published in 2015, it does leave one wondering where the lighter side of fantasy fiction is going to head next. Of course, to live up to Pratchett’s name is a tall order indeed, but I feel that any author who looks to bring some humour to the genre should be encouraged – because, as with any genre, there’s a lot of fun in lovingly pointing o ...more
Amanda B
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-reads
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The only reason I requested this book was because Heathur @ Aphrodite Reads raved about it. I sadly, do not share that opinion. When adding this to my ‘currently reading’ shelf on GoodReads, I was very surprised to see that it’s a middle grade fantasy. I’d only gotten about 10% into it before adding it on GoodReads, but it didn’t seem like a middle grade story to me.
My first issue with this being middle grade is the language.
...more
Devann
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley.

"We make out that witches aren’t real people, but we pretend that we aren’t people, either. Because, if we can convince others and ourselves that we’re not really people, then we can let ourselves get away with committing some really inhuman acts."

This was hilarious and also surprisingly deep towards the end. It starts out as a satire of many common fairy tales [Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc] as well as a commentary
...more
Kristine Stacke
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this to catch up with the Strong Female Reads group as the next choice is the second in this series.
If you like satire, humour, fairy tales and a bit of feminism then you'll love this. I laughed out loud too many times to mention and I can't wait to start the next one.
...more
Steph Warren
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, NetGalley and Farrago. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

I absolutely love this book. It is perfection!

Darkwood is suitable for anyone from middle-grade to adult, as there is plenty of peril and adventure, but the strongest word (used in the direst situations) is ‘trousers’!

The plot takes classic fairytale characters such as Hansel and Gretel, or Jack of beanstalk fame, and tumbles and twists them about into somethi
...more
Romy
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Do not go into the Darkwood, children. It's a cursed place, and so big and so dangerous that once you go in you'll never come out again. You'll become just another lost creature, aimlessly wandering amongst those black and twisted trees forever. Even the dead aren't safe in the Darkwood. Nobody is safe."


I adored this book and without a doubt, I can say this book is one of the favorite books I've read in 2019. This bo
...more
Rini Budihartati
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I got the eARC from the publisher through Netgalley. All of the comments are mine and what I feel about the book.
.
Darkwood is a retelling book of various fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, Jack and the beanstalk, etc. It is a story of Hansel and Gretel who lives in Nearby village of Myrsina. Magic and science are forbidden in that place especially for girls. Everyone who has magic or good at science are banished or recruited to join the huntsmen. Gretel is suspected to have magic, she
...more
Charlotte
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Much of the fantasy genre is riddled with wicked and dark themes. Such is not the case with Darkwood by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch.

Gretel and her brother Hansel are orphaned siblings being taken care of by their stepfather and stepmother. That sentence alone is a good clue as to where this story will take you. Gretel is a girl who is good at maths, but the Huntsmen believe that she is a witch. When one Huntsman comes to the village of Nearby, the quirky villagers delay him while Gretel forms her e
...more
Aly
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: age-middle-grade
I don't read middle grade books very often, but this one was actually quite a fun read. I did have some issues which I'll get into in a bit. I'm mostly rating this more as overall enjoyment and not so much the actual plot, as it's a bit weird to describe.

Darkwood is a place that no mortal should enter due to monsters and witches. Living in her village with her brother Hansel and stepparents, they learn literacy and defend the village folk from any monsters that emerge from the Darkwood. Witchcra
...more
Elysian Fields
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
What caught my eye about this story was the fact that it had the feel of olden fairy tales (like Grimm’s) yet was modern and fresh. I loved the idea of a magical “forest” filled with darkness, beasts and witches. Gretel and her adventures called to me. I very much enjoyed this YA story and would love to read more in this world. A mixture of classic fairy tales mix together seamlessly, and they create a magical world for any reader to get lost in.

No one is safe in Deadwood, not even the dead, bu
...more
Annie
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Darkwood is the first book in a presumptive series by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch. Due out 13th June 2019 from Prelude on their Farrago! imprint, it's 320 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is a very funny book and well written into the bargain. Ostensibly aimed at middle grade readers, it nevertheless has an awful lot to offer adults also. Written as a sort of 'fractured fairy tales' mash-up of Snow White and the hunts
...more
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“Wait, hang on,' says Trevor. 'How do you know they're on their way to the village? You're not even a witch.' He ponders this for a moment. 'It's not going to turn out that you are secretly a witch after turning out to secretly not being a witch after the Huntsmen thought it turned out you were secretly a with, is it?'
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