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Book review: Adventure continues 'Under Wildwood'

By Kate De Groote

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 22 2012 5:58 p.m. MDT

"UNDER WILDWOOD," by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis, Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 576 pages (f) (ages 9 and up)

"Under Wildwood" is a story told from three perspectives, which makes the book itself very different.

The three views are first, Elsie and her sister, Rachel; second, Prue; and third, Mr. Unthank.

In the first book, "Wildwood," Prue has to travel into the Impassible Wilderness, as the people of the town call it. Outside of the area, it is called Wildwood. No one has ever come back from the Impassible Wilderness the same. When Prue has to travel into it, she takes her friend Curtis, who stays behind in the magical land.

In this second book, Curtis' parents go to look for him, leaving their daughters, Elsie and Rachel, in the Joffrey Unthank Home For Wayward Youth for two weeks.

Somehow everything goes wrong. Prue finds herself in the woods again, trying to find the fabled "makers" before her enemies do. Mr. Unthank, the head of the orphanage, is asked to make the most complex machine part ever designed. Friends Prue and Curtis get caught underground with moles. And this complicated plot is only the beginning.

"Under Wildwood" is part of a series of fantasy books set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, Ore. The first one came out last year. In this just-released book, new characters are introduced, and there are new goals for Prue to accomplish. "Under Wildwood" dispenses with Alexandria and introduces Desdemona, a crazy person who is the assistant at the orphanage. Another new character is a half-woman/half-wolf who wants to kill Prue because she sees her as the opposition.

"Under Wildwood" is a really enjoyable book, and I can't wait for the third one. The only weak part of the story is the ending. It leaves the reader just hanging and waiting until the next book comes out for any kind of conclusion.

The author should have given the reader a little more satisfying ending instead of just looking to the next installment. Nevertheless, it is a great book.

The author of the Wildwood series is Colin Meloy. He is part of the band Decemberists. The illustrator again is his wife, Carson Ellis, who does an excellent job of enhancing the written word. There are five full-page color drawings to enjoy.

Kate De Groote is 11 years old and writes the book column "Kate's Korner" for Deseret News' "Connect 123."

If you go ...

What: Colin Meloy and Caron Ellis book signing

When: Thursday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

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