Review: The Wood

I recently have read The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski and was swept away in this realistic fantasy she created. This is a remarkable fantasy by a debut author and I knew I wanted to share it here when I finished it and couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and the Wood. I hope that it will be book that you can pick up for yourself and experience the adventure of the Wood.

Winter’s father has been preparing her to take over the guardianship of the Wood since she was a child by training her in combat and multiple languages. Her father is cynical about the work they do, but Winter knows it is her duty to guard the Wood and help the travelers that get lost within. The Wood is a place full of portals to different time periods and unsuspecting travelers will fall through these portals and end up lost within Winter’s Woods. It is her father and Winter’s responsibility to help these travelers back to their proper time period.

There are three main laws of the Wood (which are on the cover of the book): Do not travel from the paths, Do not linger after dark, and Do not ignore the calling. The calling is an intense pressure within the guardians bodies to help travelers lost within the wood; they know as soon as someone appears in the wood and where they are in the Wood. After dark the Wood changes into a dark place where shadow monsters wait for unsuspecting travelers to feast on, which is Winter’s responsibility to prevent during the daylight. Guardians, like Winter and her father, are physically unable to travel from the Wood’s paths, so when Uncle Joe (an immortal Old One that helps protect Winter’s family) tells Winter and her mother that her father traveled off the path and has vanished, Winter is unable to understand how he did. After he father disappears Winter becomes the sole guardian for her section of the Wood and tries to investigate what happened to her father.

One day doing her patrol in the Wood Winter comes across a traveler that refuses to go back to his time in order and when he is forced to return he tells Winter that he will return. Once the traveler, Henry, does return to the Wood again and tells Winter that he is here to find his parents, who are Old Ones on the Council, and have gone missing. He convinces Winter to let him through to her time when he tells her that he believes the investigation to find his missing parents may lead to more answers about what happened to Winter’s father. Around the same time as the missing Council members and her father missing the Wood begins to change and become darker and dangerous. Winter and Henry begin and investigation into the Wood and the history of it through journals that have been kept since the original family member who agreed to protect the Wood to find any hints about an evil ex-Council member who may be behind everything.

This story is fast paced and includes a romance between Winter and Henry that will have readers cheering for them to find a way to work out their time differences. Winter and her father struggle with the notion of never being able to travel and maintain friendships that don’t have knowledge of the Wood which will be easily understood and sympathized with. While the story of the Woods may not be realistic I think all readers can relate to not being able to relate to their classmates or feeling ostracized, and I think the romance that develops between Winter and Henry will cause readers to root for them.  The ending is left a little open, so I am not sure if there will be a sequel, but I would look forward to seeing where the future of the Wood could go.

I was hooked reading a blurb about the story and when I began to see the Wood come alive as I read the story, I was invested to find out what happened to Winter’s father and the missing Council members. I think the “scary” looking cover may turn some readers away thinking this may be too horror like for them, but I am generally not a fan of horror novels and this wasn’t scary at all for me. There are a few gruesome scenes that Winter witnesses in the Woods, but I don’t think its enough to turn away readers who don’t enjoy being scared. This is definitely a different take on time travel, but I think any readers of fantasy, romance, or supernatural will find something to enjoy in this story.

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski. 9781250094261. August 1st 2017. Gr 9-12.

 

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