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Mythago Wood Paperback – April 1, 1991
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However, the point of Mythago Wood is not to showcase a fast-paced, action-driven plot. Mythago wood really shines because the work is about a journey "within." It canvasses topics including familial estrangement, biological urges and the inner psyche. The characters that enter the magical Ryhope wood must face the ancient archetypal Mythagos created from the collective conscience of the humans nearby, including themselves.
Throughout the novel Holdstock does an excellent job of incorporating a variety of Celtic folklore and mythology into the mystery. The characters in the story struggle with emotions including love, jealousy, fear, and anguish. Holdstock purposely pits the powers of reason, rationality and scientific measurement against the ever-shifting, human-repelling powers of Ryhope wood. Holdstock leaves enough mystery about the workings of Ryhope wood so that he can continue to reveal the characteristics of Ryhope wood over the course of several very good sequels.
In Mythago Wood, Holdstock has made a significant contribution to the fantasy genre by creating a meaningful novel that is more than run of the mill bestselling "plot-candy." He has also avoided recreating the already well-done good vs. evil theme or the power of language theme. Even though Ryhope wood exists alongside the reality of post WWII England, expect to be completely immersed in the fantasy of the wood.
But don't read Mythago Wood because of its significance within the fantasy genre. Read it to expand and test your mind and to engage your imagination in a new way.