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Wildwood by Colin Meloy. Illustrated by Carson Ellis

Wildwood by Colin Meloy. Illustrated by Carson Ellis {Goodreads}
Published by Balzer + Bray in 2011
Hardback edition; 560 pages

Wildwood, the first instalment in the Wildwood Chronicles, starts when Mac, Prue’s brother, is kidnapped by crows and taken to Wildwood. Prue is determined to go and rescue him even though her parents always tell her to stay away from the woods. Curtis, a class mate, follows her and both of them find themselves in this magical world, trying to save not only Prue’s baby brother but also the entirety of Wildwood from an evil Queen.

Sounds good, right? Well, I’ll be honest and say this wasn’t very original. The story, I mean. From the moment I read the first page until I turned the last page over there was only one thing in my head: Narnia. The world Colin Meloy has created screamed Narnia to me and throughout the whole book I couldn’t stop myself from doing comparisons and that is something I truly don’t like to do but I couldn’t help it. The Wildwood world was too similar to Narnia. That’s not to say the story is not well-written and fun, it actually is; it touches on the power of friendship and family and of course focuses on the ever-recurrent theme of Good vs Evil. Carson Ellis’s illustrations are probably my favourite thing about the novel, they are scatter all throughout the book and are very beautiful.

Reading children’s books is always interesting. You go into it with an “adult” mind-set and sometimes things don’t work. For me, Wildwood is an okay read, it’s something you pick up for fun, it’s not a complicated read. I mean, it’s middle-grade, it’s not supposed to be complicated. However, this book was not written for adults; it was written for children. That doesn’t necessarily mean adults can’t read it but it is something I need to take into account. A fantasy world full of talking animals, bandits, a corrupted government and an evil Queen – I can totally see why this story is something kids will love.

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