Thursday, June 28

Ancient Myths, Talking Leverets and a City on the Brink of Danger - The Wild Folk by Sylvia V. Linsteadt

When the Star-Priest Brotherhood from the City threaten to ravage and destroy the land of the Wild Folk, their only hope rests with two young hares and their human companions – Tin, an orphan City boy with a passion for invention, and curious Country girl Comfrey. In this magical quest, to protect the precious stargold that runs through the land, Tin and Comfrey must complete seemingly impossible tasks set by the mysterious and terrifying Wild Folk - each stranger than the last - to find the one who holds the secret to saving their world.

The Wild Folk is a timeless adventure, weaving fantasy and folk lore into an enchanting tale that will fill you with wonder. The first in a duology, with a dash of Ursula Le Guin, a pinch of Frances Hardinge, and a generous helping from C.S. Lewis, this is a future classic, filled with unforgettable and diverse characters, and a story to be read time and again.


Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

I picked up The Wild Folk expecting something very Enid Blyton since it's categorized as MG fantasy and sounded like something right off from the worlds Enid Blyton created, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world that is far different from ones I've read before. An epic fantasy with extremely original fairytale elements woven into it, The Wild Folk made for a truly magical read.

"Well, let's at least not waste any more time running headlong to our doom!"

With a city on the brink of danger, all sense of balance and peace disrupted, and the Star-Priest Brotherhood threatening to do whatever it takes to save the City, even if it means destroying the land of the Wild Folk, it is up to the Country girl Comfrey and the City boy Tin to save the world they all love. Tin and Comfrey set off on a magical quest, along with a pair of young talking hares that hop into their lives unexpectedly,  to figure out how exactly they can save their world, guided by the mysterious and terrifying Wild Folk.

The world building is what stands out the most here. Be it the City, the Country, or the land of the Wild Folk, the author conjures up a very vivid, very magical world and it's hard to not fall in love with it all. Though this is essentially a post-apocalyptic novel, the author creates a world that is entirely different from the one we know, with magical creatures and beings to boot. If I'm very honest, though, I'd say I took way more time than I usually do in fantasy books to get used to this world. It was like unfolding a map little by very little- you'd be struggling to find your bearings in one place before you find yourself pushed into another. The author tries her best to get us acquainted with the strangeness of it all, but at times it felt too overwhelming- which leads to a question about the very audience this book targets.

While this may well work for an older MG audience, this read far too much like YA. I'm not exactly complaining here, but it is just that things felt overwrought at places. This is probably due to my expecting something more along the lines of a fairytale? This was more complicated.The world building was extremely complex and intricate and the plot even more so.  The overall theme throughout the book is environmentalism, and the author portrays this beautifully- if at times excessively. 

"Don't underestimate the power of a human hand, reaching out in friendship and peace. I think that is precisely because these ills are human-made, that their healing must therefore be human-made too."

The Wild Folk is no doubt a strange book, with strange yet lovable characters. It was a book that made me strangely nostalgic and kept me captivated all throughout. Magical realism is prevalent throughout this beautiful folktale, and the rich- at times poetic- writing and the wisdom sprinkled all throughout made for an extremely fulfilling reading experience. 

Plot: 4/5
World-building: 5/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 5/5 (a tad misleading, though, since it signals something lighter)
Enjoy factor: 4/5 

4 comments:

  1. What first drew me to this was the cover! Like you mentioned, it does seem very Enid Blyton like and quite MG, so I’m surprised you said it was very different and mature! This still seems like a really cool, mystical book. Great review, Ruzaika!

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  2. Wow this sounds great! Maybe a little confused as to whether it wants tobe MG or YA, but otherwise... I love the sound of the post apoc world mixed in with talking creatures and fairytale elements. Plus environmentalism, even if it is a bit heavy handed at times. The worldbuilding sounds phenomenal too, even if dense for an MG. THanks for sharing this one, I might get it!

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  3. Quote: "While this may well work for an older MG audience, this read far too much like YA."
    It may not be a bad idea, you know. I mean, age categories are always tricky, and it's nice that there are books that straddle the line between MG and YA. Of course, if they are TOO complicated, some of their elements can go to the reader's head - but still, they can be great coming-of-age books.
    Your last paragraph was really beautiful!

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  4. Your review reminds me of an experience I had with John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. It's marketed as a MG, but was so dark, at times I thought it functioned better as a YA or even an adult novel. I'm very much intrigued by this one though, thanks to your review.

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