Simon's Reviews > The Wood beyond the World

The Wood beyond the World by William Morris
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Feb 08, 2012

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bookshelves: fantasy
Read from February 09 to 13, 2012

Although a continuous narrative, this was a book of three distinct phases for me.

Firstly was the set up, how Walter came to be in the "Woods beyond the World". During this part I was still getting use to the antiquated prose and narrative style, finding my rhythm while not much interesting happened plot wise.

Then I got to the central part of the story, in which Walter becomes embroiled in a strange love square. While Walter sits back and passively waits for events to unfold, the others conspire and plot against each other. For me, this was the most fascinating part of the story, in which I had found my stride with the prose and was enrapt by the characters and their machinations.

And then, when Walter and the maid flee and eventually make their way back to the "normal" world, the story began to peter out and my interest waned towards the end. I guess I was expecting more of an intricate plot and a twist in the tail of the story which did not happen.

As is so often the case, it comes down to one's expectations and how far they are exceeded or fallen short of. I picked up the book without particularly high expectations as I suspected that it might be overly antiquated and quaint but these expectations were surpassed by the middle of the book. Then, finding my self really enjoying the book, I felt somewhat let down by the end as the story failed, in my opinion, to realise its full potential.

Still, an interesting and enjoyable experience of one of the key novels that helped shape modern fantasy as we know it. A must read for a anyone interested in the origins of the genre.
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07/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Stephenson Your review sums up my feelings entirely. I was sure that the Lady was going to turn out to be a creature that metamorphosed; at one point she tells Walter not to look while she bathes in a pool in the wood and I had visions of her transforming, perhaps into a serpent (like Melusine), so I was disappointed when actually she was overcome very easily in the end.


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