Title: Where the Woods Grow Wild
Author: Nate Philbrick
- Date read: June 1, 2017
- Rating: 5 stars
- Genre: Fantasy
- Age: YA
- Year pub: 2016
- Pages: 375 (Kindle)
- Series: I’ve heard rumors of a sequel…! *excited bounce* *NEED*
- Fave character: Martin… and all of them! ❤
- Source: The author
- Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author for review purposes (many thanks! :)). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
- Links: Amazon • Goodreads • Author’s Blog
First thing’s first: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! *hugs it* (Warning: Fangirling zone ahead.)
Where the Woods Grow Wild (don’t you love that title?) is SO much fun, as well as extremely well-written and completely gripping. It’s original fantasy, yet at the same time has this classic feel, so that I almost feel like I’ve known it forever, even though I just read it this month. It’s NEW and fresh and surprising, yet feels like an old friend, reminding me somehow of the “feel” of Prydain or Narnia, and I love it. 😀
It’s utterly surprising, with so many twists, and I had NO idea where it was heading, which made for an extremely fun yet suspenseful ride. I absolutely loved how separate but connected Martin’s and Elodie’s storylines were as they searched for each other. Like… it’s hard to explain, but I’ve never seen anything done like that and it was brilliant and well done.
THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS, in this sometimes subtle, totally fun way. You know you love a book when you want to quote every other line aloud. XD I love love LOVE humorous stories, and I kept giggling and reading quotes out loud and using my handy Kindle highlighter feature to highlight my favorites (which was… most of the book). (I don’t highlight in real books. That’s a huge no. So, amazingly, ebooks do occasionally have advantages…)
I also loved the characters and I feel like I know each and every one of them SO well. ❤
- There’s our hero, Martin, who’s great and relatable. Perfect hero material. He’s one of my faves. 🙂
- Next is Elodie, who is AWESOME—she’s one of those fabulous heroines that you just love their spunk and heart! 🙂
- There’s also Illo, who I can’t really say much about, but let me tell you, this girl is one of the most original characters I’ve met, somehow, and so very sparky. XD She’s so much fun to read; especially her bantering with the others.
- Then there’s Bramble! Oh my goodness. I, again, can’t say much, but Bramble is one of the most hilarious and cute but also… erm… hard to decide about characters ever. I LOVED READING ABOUT BRAMBLE! He’s a fuzzy little creature who talks in very strange, funny ways in third-person and just—AWK, SO CUTE AND SUCH A MESS BUT SO CUUUUUTE!! *flails around* (His name for Elodie, “the sun-drop girl” was my favorite!) Seriously, so much hilarious dialog! Bramble was one of the most fun things about the book. XD
Other characters include Fella (awesome), Podgin (mushrooms! He is food-obsessed, which was so fun), Aquilax (eep, but yes please), General Tum (dryad), and of course, the mysterious Nayadu (so much spoilers, awk), but you’ll have to meet them yourself because I don’t want to rob you of the delightful chance of discovering this story on your own. Meeting each of them is so fascinating, and we never know which of them are good, bad, on our side, or out for their own purposes (and sometimes these things change throughout the book, which kept me on my toes!). Every character is SO unique and individual, and written so well. They’re definitely a high point of the story!
Twists. TWISTS, PEOPLE. There are so many twists! *collapses* It actually felt partway like a mystery, which I absolutely LOVED. So many questions and mysteries and twists galore. I kept trying to predict what would happen, and figure out what was going on, and I got a couple of things part-way, but WOW, I was super impressed at how complicated and twisty this story was, while seeming kind of simple on the surface. I kept guessing and second-guessing what was going on, and that made it so incredibly fun to read. 😀
This world, with the village and the wild woods, had such a great “feel” to it—I can’t even explain, but I was absolutely captivated by it. I loved how some of it felt kind of familiar (yes, there’s a village; yes, there’s a dwarf, and dryads) but at the same time made everything totally different and surprising (the dryads are NOT what you’d expect, there are lots of strange and original fantasy creatures about with great names like bog boars and trunders, and I will say no more lest I spoil the surprises).
Basically, everything about this book was fresh and original fantasy, but still felt so classic, and I absolutely loved that!
There are occasional dark bits and scariness, but overall it was much more lighthearted than a lot of fantasy, and I so appreciated that! A book that can have fun and not take itself too seriously, but still be epic and fun and very FANTASY-ish is a book that I can respect whole-heartedly. ❤ And yet there’s this great HEART to the story, that just draws you in and makes you fall in love with these characters and their sometimes fun, sometimes heartbreaking moments, with some unexpected depth and emotion behind the humor, and it’s just… all around so, so good. ^_^
Aside from the dangers, I feel like younger kids, as well as young adults and older, would really like this book. It’s kind of awesomely refreshing to read something that I feel would be fun for the entire family, you know? 🙂 As long as the creatures aren’t TOO scary for them. (I’m bad at suggesting ages, otherwise I would.) But basically it’s clean and fun and awesome and has the right kind of feel to appeal to younger readers as well as older ones. I positively adore it at my current age, but I feel like if I’d met it when I was ten it would have become a classic to me then as well.
Oh, and I loved the names! They were charming and quirky and perfect. When you have side characters named things like Percy Durbity, and a river named Minnowchuck, and Elodie and Tum and Aquilax, and trunders and puffernuts, you just know this is an awesome and imaginative fantasy book, and it just WORKS. (I especially love the puffernuts and their name. Just… don’t ask, but I love their presence in this book. XD It’s fun to say. Puffernuts! Puffernuts! Ahem. Anyway…)
It doesn’t need a sequel, specifically, (no cliffhangers, thank goodness!) but I would absolutely love to have more in this storyworld! I’m extremely fond of it, despite the dangers, and I just loved all these characters and humor. ^_^
I really have no complaints at all. It was just a solidly EXCELLENT book. ❤
(In case you needed to skip my longwinded fangirling. Ahem.)
Utterly original yet completely classic all at once, and FANTASY, and hilarious, and I know each and every character SO WELL, and just. *flails* I LOVED IT! 😀 Where the Woods Grow Wild is simply an extremely delightful fantasy novel, and I highly recommend it to absolutely anyone who loves fantasy! Come with me on a quest to find the sun-drop girl where the woods grow wild . . . Seriously, go check it out; you will NOT regret it. 😀 I enjoyed every second of it. ^_^ I’m looking forward to more from this super talented author!
(A few, anyway; otherwise I’d be quoting the entire book…)
“You’re making stuffed mushrooms, aren’t you?”
“No I’m not, and you can’t have any.”
“Soup is just water and onions pretending to be food.”
Martin struggled to re-lace his shoes with his fingers and teeth, a task he had yet to master. The others returned while he was finishing the second shoe.
“Taste good?” Illo asked.
“You don’t want to know.”
“She can’t be awake already. If she were awake, she’d be screaming.”
“Yes, right. If she were awake, she would definitely be screaming.”
Elodie was fed up. “I am awake,” she said loudly. “And I’m not screaming.”
“Now, where’s the map?”
Podgin slouched in his seat. “I was worried about the humidity, so I tucked it neatly in the pages of that cumbersome book nobody ever reads, along with my favorite mushroom recipes. You know, valuables I can’t afford to misplace.”
“And the book is…?”
Podgin shrugged. “Haven’t seen it since March.”
“I refuse to give up on you, because underneath those claws and teeth there’s a stubborn, half-handed mess of a man, and I want him back.”
“Do you know what happens if you get too close to the green one?”
Martin shook his head.
“The roots snag your feet and lock you in place until they fancy letting you go, which could take days. I call them anklesnatchers. And the one with the violet leaves? What happens if you get too close to that one?”
“I get eaten?”
“No. Absolutely nothing happens. It’s just a tree.”
~ ~ ~
Does this book sound awesome, or does it sound AWESOME? XD What’s a fabulous fantasy book you’ve read lately that was super classic and amazing?
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Dream away in those pages . . .
~ The Page Dreamer