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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Wildwood
The second book in Colin Meloy's Wildwood Chronicles has left me looking forward to the next volume. In his first book, Wildwood, Meloy introduced us to a magical world, located in Portland Oregon's Forest Park. We also met characters who lived inside or outside the park, or who in a few cases could move between the two worlds. The Portland setting gives the novel a sense...
Published on October 4, 2012 by Mylrea Estell

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So close, so very very close.
Under Wildwood continues a beautiful story begun in the novel Wildwood. However, where the first book feels complete and leaves you begging for more of the world, Under Wildwood is definitely not a stand alone story. You are left hanging and without resolution. This was incredibly disappointing after the completeness of the first novel.

I feel like I've been...
Published 6 months ago by brandilion


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Wildwood, October 4, 2012
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This review is from: Under Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book II (Hardcover)
The second book in Colin Meloy's Wildwood Chronicles has left me looking forward to the next volume. In his first book, Wildwood, Meloy introduced us to a magical world, located in Portland Oregon's Forest Park. We also met characters who lived inside or outside the park, or who in a few cases could move between the two worlds. The Portland setting gives the novel a sense of place which is rare in fantasy.

I am not usually a fantasy or youth fiction reader, but was attracted to Wildwood because of its Oregon setting and young Oregon author. Wildwood and its creatures were well drawn, so that I was able to suspend disbelief and become involved in the story. In the first volume I only wished that the book moved a bit more quickly, in order to keep the reader more excited as we explored Meloy's world.

Under Wildwood has the episodic urgency I missed in Wildwood. Once again we join Curtis and Prue, children who are so well written that we believe the story, because we believe in them and through them we believe what they see and experience. We also get to know Curtis's sisters, Elsie and Rachel, who are left in a rather ominous orphanage by their parents so that they can travel to Africa. The movement between their story and events in Wildwood keeps the story exciting.

Meloy's writing is rich and picturesque. His words are well chosen, elaborate, and surprising yet fulfilling in their perfection. It is easy to imagine this very visual work as a movie. Unlike too many writers of youth fiction, he demonstrates a deep understanding of subjects as diverse as Japanese folklore and Russian literature. I could swear he has gotten into my bookshelves.

As an audiobook listener, I was pleased with the narrator change for the second book. The Wildwood audio recording was okay, but Under Wildwood was narrated by the author who has built an international reputation as a performer with his band, The Decemberists. After a sing-songy opening, Meloy presented an exciting narration with subtle, but well-done presentations of the various characters. I would like to hear more book narrations by Meloy, if only he could find time in what must be a very busy schedule.

Of course I had to have paper copies of the books too, in order to see the charming illustrations by Meloy's wife and collaborator, Carson Ellis. These are books that I hope to read to a grandchild someday, so that we can enjoy the story, vocabulary and illustrations together.

Under Wildwood's only flaw is in intrinsic difficulty inherent in its being a middle novel in a series. The characters hit the ground running, assuming that the reader has already been introduced. The ending is not so much a conclusion as a deep breath before we dive into the rest of the story. As we have seen Meloy hone his skills as a writer between his first and second books, I am looking forward to his next book which I expect to be a solid five-star read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker, more involved sequel that maintains the style of the first; on a whole, a success. Recommended, September 29, 2012
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Juushika (Oregon, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Under Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book II (Hardcover)
Since the events in Wildwood, Prue has returned to the unfulfilling monotony of the Outside while Curtis trains with bandits in the Wood. But their lives are disrupted again, this time by an assassination attempt which sends them on a long quest to resurrect a ruler and save the Wood. Under Wildwood continues the stylistic traditions of its predecessor, but this is a darker book. Rambling and whimsical, lengthy but so diverse--exploring new areas of the map and introducing a number of new characters--that it never drags, it affects an almost mythical tone. But this view of Wildwood and its surroundings is starker, darker, and far more grim--not a new direction to take a children's series, but one that contrasts and compliments the whimsy and highlights the book's surprisingly vivid emotional landscape. Ellis's illustrations are the ideal companion, folksy and stylized but rendered suitably in thick blacks shot through with bright red.

Unfortunately, Under Wildwood also does what I hate most about series and ends halfway, with the third book promising to finish up this particular quest. The comperably involved, extended journey suits the darker tone, but I'd still prefer a finished story; this is why I tend to avoid series. But I'm invested in Wildwood, enjoyed this installation, and will see it through. I don't believe these are new classics, but they have a certain beauty, especially for a St. John's resident: the location shines, as much a character as Prue or Curtis, and the series has a well-defined, unique tone that refuses to grow stagnant. I recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying the chronicles but . . ., November 20, 2012
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Mel Ristau (Fort Collins, Colorado) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book II (Hardcover)
where Book I, was a satisfyingly self-contained tale, Book II should be noted as Book IIa. Those who anticipate a modest degree of closure will be disappointed in having to wait another year for the rest of Book II (Which will likely be noted as Book III). Even so, let the yarn continue spinning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under Wildwood, December 5, 2013
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This is the sequel to Wildwood - and if you like children’s fiction I suggest you go read that first. This book brings back Prue, Curtis and some other familiar faces from the first book, as well as some new characters - including Curtis’ two sisters, Rachel and Elsie. Wildwood is suffering with a hard winter and civil unrest after the revolution and Prue is going to have to work to save the wood and all her friends by uniting the country. She must also beware of a mysterious assassin hired by someone in Wildwood to claim her life.

I believe Prue is around 12 and the intended age range for the book is probably about 9-13, so there were times when I was rolling my eyes. At 25, I’m obviously not the target audience, so while I found the book a little young at times, I know why - however I enjoy children’s and YA fiction, and if you do too, you’ll like this book. I did find Curtis to be a little flat - for the sake of staying spoiler free, I just felt he had no real emotion. But overall it was a very fun book and a quick read. I’ll definitely be reading the 3rd book!

The other aspect I’d Iike to comment on is the physical beauty of this book - the edges of the pages are wonderfully rough and raw. The art by Ellis is awesome - as evidenced by my previous posts. These touches made reading the book even more fun. So if you enjoy the genre, or you’ve read the first book, definitely pick up Under Wildwood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved Wildwood, so happy to find its sequel., November 20, 2012
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J. M. Clark (Nehalem, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
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This is a deligtful sequel to Wildwood which I also loved. I live in the area that this is written which makes if particularly magical to me.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So close, so very very close., March 31, 2014
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Under Wildwood continues a beautiful story begun in the novel Wildwood. However, where the first book feels complete and leaves you begging for more of the world, Under Wildwood is definitely not a stand alone story. You are left hanging and without resolution. This was incredibly disappointing after the completeness of the first novel.

I feel like I've been tricked into reading more, whereas after the first novel, I was satiated and begging for it.

Cheap trick.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does Not Read Like a Middle Grade Novel, November 13, 2012
Wildwood was only just okay for me, but, because of my love of Colin Meloy's music, I determined to give his books one more chance. I like to be open-minded about my reading, but, sometimes, certain authors just don't resonate. Colin Meloy makes beautiful music, with lyrics that tell a marvelous story, but his efforts in fiction seem to me too be trying to hard and not aimed at the right audience.

Once again, I feel the need to clarify that I think these books are marketed to entirely the wrong age group. According to Amazon, these books are for ages 8+. Well, that just does not seem right to me at all. If you check out the labels, you'll see that I've marked this book as for adults. The writing is complex and the subject matter seems like it would alternatingly bore and frighten and eight year old. Certainly, there are children or teens that might enjoy this, but, on average, I think this book would make them feel rather stupid. I mean, heck, there are even words I don't know, and that doesn't happen often to me in pretty much any book. On the bright side, if you're looking for interesting SAT prep materials, this might help with the verbal section.

As I noted in my review for Wildwood, some reviewers, disappointed like I was, said that it read as though Meloy wrote the book with a thesaurus to hand. Personally, I didn't feel like that, but, when the option to review the audio came around, I took it, curious to see how it would sound. Clunky language of the overblown variety really stands out when it comes time to read it aloud. Having listened to Meloy narrating his own novel, I stand by my prior assertion: I think he just has an awesome vocabularly and loves big words.

For the most part, I don't see this book really taking off to much except in hipster circles. The villain of this one is a captain of industry, a maker of machine parts. Unthank also runs a home for orphans. If you guessed child labor, then you're right! I don't like corporations any more than the average person, but I find it highly unlikely that a corporation could get away with such flagrant child labor in the US in this day and age, particularly if it's one of the biggest corporations. I mean, come on, there would be people sent in to check out his factory AND to observe the treatment of the children. Perhaps this could be explained, but no reasons for this were given, so I'm calling shenanigans. Besides, if this book is for kids, I could maybe see them creeped out in a good way about the child labor, but all of the meetings between the captains of industry and belaboring of the anti-corporate message? I doubt it.

There's also a weird, incongruous scene in which Prue and Curtis see some litter. The litter had no effect on the plot whatsoever really, but there's a discussion of it. Why? Because the piece of litter is a can of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). As I said, this book is for hipsters. There's absolutely no reason to have the can be beer (or a specific type of beer) unless the target audience is people who drink beer, especially hipster beer.

Aside from that, I have the same complaints that I did the first time around: static characters, unrealistic dialogue and perhaps too much violence for a middle grade audience. Sure, the violence in the book does not phase me, as I read a lot of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. However, if I were a kid who'd mostly read children's books, I'm pretty sure this would freak me out. Prue obtains some pretty ghastly injuries, animals kill one another, children fight with glee, and we learn that two characters were tortured in the past, one losing his eyes and the other his hands. It just all felt a bit excessive for an eight year old.

Basically, if you're an adult and you're interested in this, by all means. If you think your kids would like it, great, but just be aware that it's more mature than perhaps implied. I do not plan to continue with this series, sadly, but highly recommend checking out The Decemberists if you haven't heard them before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED IT!!!!!!!, October 13, 2014
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I loved this book so much. After reading Wildwood I just had to know what would happen next and I felt like Under Wildwood really described it well.
I gave this book five stars because I loved it and I would read it again which is surprising because I usually don't re-read books but I would 're read this one. I can't wait to start Wildwood Imperuim I think it will be just as good since Colin Melody wrote it too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic sequel that surpasses the first, July 13, 2014
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The Curried Nut (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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Absolutely fantastic book - and, dare I say it, better than Wildwood! (Which is abnormal for me, because I almost always like Book 1 of a series best.)

The book has elements of The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Chronicles of Narnia (The Silver Chair in particular), and keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

I still wouldn't give these to an elementary reader, regardless of their reading comprehension levels; I'd save it for junior high at least, due to some of the subject matter (the orphanage, for example).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good follow up, June 26, 2014
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An engaging sequel to the first book although much darker and is leaves with no resolution st the end. I'm looking forward to reading the third book.
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Under Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book II
Under Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book II by Colin Meloy (Hardcover - September 25, 2012)
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