Synopses & Reviews
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
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.
Wildwood is a spellbinding tale full of wonder, danger, and magic that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Original and fresh yet steeped in classic fantasy, this is a novel that could have only come from the imagination of Colin Meloy, celebrated for his inventive and fantastic storytelling as the lead singer of the Decemberists. With dozens of intricate and beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Carson Ellis, Wildwood is truly a new classic for the twenty-first century.
"Meloy, the lead singer of the band the Decemberists, delves into middle-grade fiction with a story that pairs classic adventure novel tropes with cool, disaffected prose. The book opens as 12-year-old Prue McKeel loses her baby brother to a murder of crows, and sets off to rescue him from the Impassable Wilderness, a strange country alongside Portland, Ore., (where the actual Forest Park lies). Her classmate Curtis tags along, and the two are soon separated. Prue takes refuge with the postmaster in his delivery van, while Curtis is captured, then suddenly made an officer in an army of talking coyotes led by the beautiful and intimidating Dowager Governess. It becomes apparent that Prue and Curtis have landed on opposite sides in a war and neither side may be right. Without a good side to cheer for (disappointments and betrayals abound), the story lacks a strong emotional center, and its preoccupations with bureaucracy, protocol, and gray-shaded moral dilemmas, coupled with the book's length, make this slow going. Ellis's spot art, not all seen by PW, is characteristically crisp and formal, further lending the story a detached quality. Ages 8 12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Wildwood is a beautiful object and a beautiful read. One half fairy tale, one half coming of age story, one half unrepentantly gorgeous work of art, this book is overflowing with gifts." Jonathan Safran Foer
"Dark and whimsical, with a true and uncanny sense of otherworldliness, Wildwood is the heir to a great tradition of stories of wild childhood adventure. It snatched me up and carried me off into a world I didn't want to leave." Michael Chabon
"A satisfying blend of fantasy, adventure story, eco-fable and political satire with broad appeal; especially recommended for preteen boys." Kirkus Reviews
"This book is like the wild, strange forest it describes. It is full of suspense and danger and frightening things the world has never seen, and once I stepped inside I never wanted to leave." Lemony Snicket
"Wildwood is an irresistible, atmospheric adventure richly imagined and richly rewarding." Trenton Lee Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of The Mysterious Benedict Society
"Meloy has an immediately recognizable verbal style and creates a fully realized fantasy world....Ellis's illustrations perfectly capture the original world and contribute to the feel of an instant timeless classic. Further adventures in Wildwood cannot come quickly enough." School Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Colin Meloy once wrote Ray Bradbury a letter, informing him that he "considered himself an author too." He was ten. Since then, Colin has gone on to be the singer and songwriter for the band the Decemberists, where he channels all of his weird ideas into weird songs. This is his first time channeling those ideas into a novel.
As a kid, Carson Ellis loved exploring the woods, drawing, and nursing wounded animals back to health. As an adult, little has changed except she is now the acclaimed illustrator of several books for children, including Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead, Dillweed's Revenge by Florence Parry Heide, and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.
Colin and Carson live with their son, Hank, in Portland, Oregon, quite near the Impassable Wilderness.