For fans of the Chronicles of Narnia comes the Wildwood Chronicles, the New York Times bestselling fantasy adventure series by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of The Mysterious Benedict Society. This collection brings together all three novels, each replete with illustrations, including a number of gorgeous, full-color plates.
Wildwood: Prue and her friend Curtis 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 greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.
Under Wildwood: Ever since Prue returned home from the Impassable Wilderness after rescuing her brother from the malevolent Dowager Governess, life has been pretty dull. Her mind is constantly returning to the verdant groves and sky-tall trees of Wildwood. But all is not well in that world. Prue and her friend Curtis are thrown together again. To save themselves and the lives of their friends, they must go under Wildwood.
Wildwood Imperium: The fate of Wildwood hangs in the balance, as Prue and Curtis draw closer to their goal of bringing together a pair of exiled toy makers in order to reanimate a mechanical boy prince. . . .
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A huge Decemberists fan is greatly disappointed
I'm a five-star fan of the Decemberists, and a huge fan of Meloy's work as a songwriter and singer. I'm also a avid reader of fantasy writing, so I was eager to dive into what has been described as the perfect nexus of those interests. To say I was disappointed with the Wildwood series would be an understatement. The writing was stilted and dry, suffering from a conceit of language use that is charming and quirky for songs, but simply self-flagellation and off-putting for prose. The editing for this e-book, at least, is simply awful too, with misused words, wrong punctuation and flawed structure.
Genre-wise, this falls into a category filled with brilliant, life-changing literature from the pens of C. S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Madeline L'Engle, and many more. Stories that use fantasy as allegory for the pains of growing up and shaping one's moral and political compass. The Wildwood Chronicles is like a bag of Cheetos next to those soulful, fulfilling fine dining for the imagination experiences.
If the story was compelling, it might have been worth fighting past those criticisms, or even just judging this work with a separate ruler ... but the weak character development, over dependence on tedious battle sequences, slo-o-o-w pacing of the narrative coupled with a fundamentally unbelievable series of choices made by the unrealistically drawn two main characters (the two tweenagers who make decisions over and over that almost never seem like choices that ANY young person would make) sink this like a stone.
Now I'll confess to giving up after the first chapter of the second book, so maybe the writing and story improved later on, but after forcing myself that far, and the direction book two seemed headed, I was done.
This felt an awful lot like a situation where an artist accomplished in one quarter just wasn't getting the right feedback and justified criticism to do this right. This was painful, though, and quite unfortunate.