Book Review: Darkwood by M.E. Breen
I was really surprised to find this book in the juvenile section but the age of the main character and the complete lack of a romance angle for her in this book probably put it there rather than the young adult section. The main character, Annie, is a child. We never learn her age but I’d put her probably at 10, possibly at 11 years of age. There are several years between Annie and her older sister, Page, but we are never told the exact age difference.
The location and scene changes in this story are extreme and happen in the first part of the book frequently. The characters are moved around too quickly and to places the reader is unprepared for and is unaware of. If Annie is not conscious to witness it, then we as readers are not told either. Because of this I was often thrown, wondering what the hell just happened. At one point I had to stop and go back to make sure I hadn’t missed something or that a page hadn’t been torn out by accident. You get the same jarring effect of waking up in a new place that Annie experiences in the story. It’s not always pleasant and is more often confusing. Thus, the beginning of the book feels overly choppy to me. After the first 100 pages or so, the story picks up and is easier to read.
Darkwood is a good book and I really enjoyed it. There were several surprises that were genuinely surprises to me. At one point I began to wonder if the character we had been following for most of the story might not be the important character of the plot. When the final revelation came, it was one I was not expecting. The kinderstalk are interesting characters, especially when we learn that they are not quite the monsters they first appeared to be. Dakrwood has interesting themes of human against animal, child against adult, and royalty against subject. Annie struggles against the opposing forces of the world, first fleeing for her life and then to help the sister she once thought dead and the parents who were not what they seemed.
My only complaint is that the story is left unresolved and there was no warning that this book was part of a series. As of yet, no sequel is available and I expect to go quietly insane because of this. The book ends right as the true villain is revealed and we are left to wait the next installment.
Copyright 2009 M.E. Breen
Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books