Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review - Darkwood by M. E. Breen (3/5 stars)

I got this book because I loved the cover and the title.  Then I read the synopsis and it sounded very fairy tale like and intriguing and I was hooked.  Overall it was an okay book; it wasn't as engaging as I had hoped but it was still an okay read.

Thirteen year old Annie lives with her cruel uncle and her passive aunt.  Just when she thinks things can't get any worse she is sold off to work at The Drop, a horrible mine.  Rather than do what her uncle wants she escapes and wanders out into the forest to brave the darkness and the Kinderstalk.  Soon Annie finds out that she is not like the other children, she can see in the dark.  She also finds out that there is a plot that goes much deeper than selling kids off to die at the Drop; she is the only one who knows what it is and it is up to her to warn the king.  If she doesn't all her friends will die.

This is a very dark book and is very reminiscent of a Brother's Grimm fairy tale which is what I was hoping for.  The book is dark both in all of the misery the characters go through and in the setting; Annie does much of her journey in the dark.

Unfortunately I had a hard time getting into this book.  The writing style was okay but didn't match the story very well.  With a fairy tale you are hoping for some lush description, and that was missing in this book for me.  I also never really cared for any of the characters very much.  Annie was too different and strange to ever be personable; she never shows much emotion at any of the horrible things that happen to her.  The majority of the other characters were evil and cruel; there wasn't much light in this story at all.  I found Annie's path through the book to be a bit wandering and unfocused.  In general I just had a lot of trouble with this book holding my attention.

I did enjoy the dark tone of the book and a world where the night is absolute darkness makes an excellent setting for a dark fairy-tale.  I just could not get into the characters or the story and found it to be kind of boring in general. 

Overall an okay book, not one of my favorites.  If you are a fan of dark Grimm-like fairy tales you might enjoy this book.  Otherwise I would skip this one.

This goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

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