Darkwood by M. E. Breen
publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
released: May 2009
edition: Hardcover, 288 pages
intended audience: Young Adult
description from author's site:
Darkness falls so quickly in Howland its people have no word for evening. One minute the sky is light, the next minute it is black—an impenetrable, suffocating black, unlit by moon or stars. Then good people bar their doors, for fearsome kinderstalk leave the forest to prowl among the houses, looking for children to steal. Yet when Annie Trewitt overhears her uncle making terrible plans for her, she flees to the only place she’s sure he will not follow: the forest. Annie never expects to survive the night, but soon she finds neither the kinderstalk nor the people of Howland are what they first appear. Her journey will take her from the depths of the forest to the glittering halls of the palace—and ever closer to an evil darker and more vast than the night itself.
Review: I came across Darkwood like I do so many other books: I checked it in for someone at my library! I couldn't resist the dark eerie cover and the determined expression on the girls face, the wolves in the background, and the cats creeping around her. The story inside did not disappoint. It was an incredible adventure story much in the style of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
I loved Annie's character. She had so much courage! Her and her two cats, Isadora & Prudence, steal away into the suffocating darkness to escape her uncle and the adventure begins---and doesn't stop until the very end! The darkness is almost a character of it's own: when it fell, it falls fast and engulfed everyone in complete blindness. The storylines were amazing, changing and twisting throughout the whole book, so that even the characters goals morphed several times. Along the way, Annie finds some very important lost things and discovers alot about her true self.
So many interesting characters help the story along, good and bad. My favorites were the sisters Serena and Beatrice, who take Annie in and care for her like their own, protecting her like mama bears. They are twins but they are physical opposites, one is large and strong, the other is small and slight, but both are so sweet. I couldn't help but love them! As for the bad, there is a character that is named only as the Apothecary who is so terrifying, each of her scenes had my skin crawling!
There is so much here: mystery, adventure, terror, royal intrigue, war, and love! I definitely recommend picking this one up if you get the chance! Check your local library or grab a copy of the newly released paperback!