August 30, 2011
Balzer + Bray
MG Fantasy, 560 pages
Acquired and read: From the local library; read within two days (really, have you seen the size of this book?!)
Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. And then things get really weird.This was one of the most amazing journeys I've taken through a book since I stepped through the closet into Narnia back in fourth grade. Well, it was amazing up until the part that I realized the author had fallen in with the crowd and decided to make it A TRILOGY.
You see, on every map of Portland, Oregon, there is a big splotch of green on the edge of the city labeled ‘I.W.’ This stands for ‘Impassable Wilderness.’ No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.
And this is where the crows take her brother.
So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval, a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much bigger as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness.
A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.
But I digress.
So, the girl's name is Pru. She has a mom and dad and a drooling, but adorable, little brother named Mac. They have lovely times together - up until the point that Mac is swooped upon by a murder of crows and taken off to destinations unknown.
Then the ball really gets rolling.
To me, Pru was an awesome middle-grade heroine. She's smart, loves her family, and is determined to set things right at all costs. Curtis is your typical, awkward outsider - nerdy and obsessed with his comic book characters, but loyal to a fault...and sometimes, a bit too trusting, but that's another story. (It's also a bit amusing, and kinda cute, to note that Pru and Curtis look awfully like Colin and Carson.)
The entire story reads like a blend of all those magical childhood stories and fairy tales (and even a little bit of Robin Hood to sweeten the deal), and a bunch of awesome illustrations that really bring the book to life. At the risk of completely embarrassing myself by overly gushing, this is the type of story I hope that I'll be able to write someday.
If my recommendation isn't enough to sell you on this...for all you die-hard Series of Unfortunate Events fans (like moi), Lemony Snicket has a blurb on the back cover. Oh, yeah. You need to read it.
And if you're a Narnia purist? If C.S. Lewis were still around, I have a feeling he'd have written a blurb too.
Warnings: Some thematic violence...I guess. And maybe a few crude scenarios that come about when a kid is stranded in the woods without any chances of civilization. But nothing too bad, really.
Final verdict: Yes. And let's throw in a "gah this is on my wishlist PLEASE GET IT FOR ME" as well.