Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity.
The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown.
But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a pixie-dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is a malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood.
©2012 Kate Danley (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Yes, it made me cry. But I'm not going to tell if those were happy tears or sad tears. Listen for yourself.
If you see any of my other reviews, you’ll start to notice a pattern. I read other reviews. Well, I skim them. I browse through them before and after I’ve read/listened to a book. Sometimes, when I’m in the middle of reading, I go through them again wondering if anyone has had the same thoughts that I’m having.
I don’t remember why I picked this one. Probably because I’m DIY renovating and love to listen to books while I work. This was free with Kindle Unlimited with narration.
Reading the blurb, I’m like others who thought The Woodcutter is something that it’s not. (Of course, now I want to write the book I was expecting and random thoughts keep popping into my head about that!)
Other reviewers also mentioned the writing style. It does feel like Kate Danley hasn’t found her own voice. It feels as if she’s borrowing a voice. My suggestion is to listen to it. All the old fairy tales are dry, emotionless things to which you have to add your own responses. Listening to the narration really brings The Woodcutter to life. Although I wasn’t very fond of Sarah Coomes’s voice, she really adds something to the story.
Maybe because I’ve read all those stories in their various forms and I’ve analyzed them for a thesis I could recognize them easily and nothing was confusing. I felt like I’ve been in that forest before and I was returning to a place I called home for a little while. (Also watch, Into the Woods: Stories just seem to revolve around a forest. I remember when I first read Grimms back in high school, I wondered briefly why the characters didn’t run into each other. They were all talking about the woods. They all went on a quest or got lost or whatever didn’t involve staying home.)
What makes The Woodcutter interesting for me is that his character is the wise helper found in many of the fairy tales. He never intervenes. He does his job perfectly allowing the fairy tale to play itself out.
Other reviews complain that the characters are not filled out. In fairy tales, the story is about the plot and the lesson. We don’t need a road map into the hearts and minds of every single character. The Wolf is bad. Red Riding Hood is innocent and naïve. Cinderella lived through a horrible period before meeting her prince. In the original story, we never know why the Evil Queen wanted Snow White dead, other than the fact that she was Evil and jealous. Seriously, Maleficent cursed Sleeping Beauty with death because she wasn’t invited to a party! We don’t bitch at the Grimms for lack of character development.
The main character, the Woodcutter is the one we need to care understand. And I found that I did.
This is a neat place to visit. Let your mind go and just listen. There are a lot of things happening here, but it really is all tied together. If you can follow Game of Thrones (the book, not the show), this is easy peasy. Especially if you’ve already read and re-read all the fairy tales you can get your hands on.
My suggestion as with all things: listen to other opinions, but if you’re interested in something, delve into it yourself and make your own opinion. The Woodcutter is completely worth reading.
When I sat down to write this I didn’t know what I was going to say. The only thing that I could come up with was that it made me cry. And all I thought to write was True love conquers all…true love comes in many forms. It’s the purity of the love that makes it magic.
Ranks right up there due to the perfect match between the story and the narration by Sarah Coomes. We set high standards for those who tell fairytales to adults, and this narrator exceeds them.
Delaney lights up images from the folktales and fairy tales we have heard, then moves us to the viewpoints of different characters than the heroes, all the while weaving an overarching narrative that is disturbing and redemptive.
In the spirit of constant renewal of oral narrative, the author skillfully draws us into the battle between good and evil by activating connections between folktales, crime and substance abuse. While The Golden Compass places Dust at the centre of its sci-fantasy, Delaney deepens the narrative by re-appropriating pixie dust as the substance of harvesting and abuse.
Time is not an issue for me so I did listen to the whole book because of the narrator; and I had forgotten the plots of most fairy tales and wanted to brush up on them for story time with children. Otherwise it would not have been worth the listen time. However, I don't think I am the target audience, so perhaps if you were a teenager it would be.
Yes, The tone of the book is over dramatized in my opinion and never settles into something "comfortable" (and not to argue with myself, but perhaps that's because the editors wanted to convey the dangerous nature of fairy tales? Don't know, but a whole book in danger mode is overdone) . But the narrator does an excellent job at conveying emotion and range, and her tone is comfortable to listen to.
I would not have read the book, so Sarah Coomes made it bearable. After awhile, I forgot what the heck the woodcutter was doing. As soon as one issue is resolved he stumbles into two more fair tale plots. It's as if the author was compelled to cover every fable ever written weather it furthered the plot or not.
I didn't know what to expect as I was reading the first chapter. But the author creates a world where the characters from the fairy tales we grew up with interact in unique and unexpected ways. The Woodcutter is on the archetypal hero's journey: think Odysseus meets The Hobbit! It's really kind of fascinating!
The Woodcutter keeps the peace between the fairy realm and the human realm. He comes upon a body and knows that something is very wrong so he takes his ax and goes into the woods to right whatever has upset the balance.
Evil queens, false princesses, a fairy dust harvesting business.... things are not okay in the realm.
Reviews are all over the place for this novel. I fall mostly on the side of the positive. Danley's narrative distance seems to bother some people — while the novel stays with the Woodcutter, the story is told from a storyteller narrator. There is a clear difference between the character and the narrator, even if the narrator is not in the story. Although we get in his head, the thoughts aren't expressed in the Woodcutter's voice and I'll hazard a guess that those who disliked felt put off by the narration style even if expressed differently, i.e. not having fully realized characters, etc.
I'll disagree in that I found I sympathized with the Woodcutter, cheered for him, was disappointed when he seemed to be loosing. I liked Jack, and a felt horrible for the pixies. No, I felt nothing for the evil queen, yet I had good image of who she was. One dimensional, yes, but it fit the story - this was a fairytale, closer to a true folktale than perhaps most other 'retellings' and 're-workings'.
Daniel uses the devices of folktales and fairytales - repetitions, the power of names, the deals and word-games, the power of love and decency, all to an enjoyable effect. Danley has taken tales we know well - Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Three Billy-Goats Gruff etc., and mixed them with lesser known stories, and tossed in a little mythology to boot, and then managed to created a cohesive story that wasn't about any individual fairytale, but about how a world maintained a balance between forces. And when that balance was tipped enough, how it cascaded towards destruction. But the grace of the good storytelling here was the Woodcutter's own story. His love, his world, and what he would do to set things right.
The Woodcutter isn't perfectly executed, but it works more often than not. It takes a certain amount of patience to adjust to the style and to understand the world of the novel — again something that some readers may not have because we are now used to a certain styles of narration and this feels like a throwback. There was a point when I found myself just enjoying being told a story. Yes - the adage 'show don't tell' is probably something critics will toss around as a weakness because Danley doesn't always do that, but again, I think here it works.
And strangely, by telling the story, Danley paints a wonderful portrait of the world with her words. There are moments of true poetry. Moments that made me stop and go back to hear it again. Color was huge in the story and Danley used it masterfully at times. Again, fitting considering the material she was working with. Sometimes it is good to just be told a good story.
The narration worked and the story may work best as a story being told. Coomes voice did a good job a creating characters recognizable by her tone, inflection, accent and rhythm.
I simply did not care for this. I felt it was formulaic and suffered some internalized misogyny. For example, the woodcutter (detective) finds the body of a dead princess and remarks out loud, "What did you get yourself into, girl?"
I did not like the narrator. It was very breathy and forced almost as if it was a fake English accent. I don't know if she really is English, but it sounded like a college freshman who just landed the part of Wendy in a stage play of Peter Pan.
I actually missed my junction because I was so focused on turning this book off. The good news is that I got back on the right highway and also remembered how much I liked the Dresden Files. I listened to Dead Beat for the rest of the five hour car trip. Excellent.
I thought that was amazing as Kate Danley managed to bring dozen fairytales with numerous characters combining into many small of the cast along with The Woodcutter as one story. The Woodcutter is a compelling character with great honor, kindness and bravery!
At the almost very ending when all Woodcutter friends join him in celebration after all his troubles.
The two scenes with Oberon and Titania (king and Queen of The Fey) were both beautiful described… I literally could envision in my mind as I listened The Narrator.
Yes I actually did listen during one day. It was a beautiful story and the chapters are pretty short.
I loved Sarah Comes' voice !!! She has such a pleasant voice, plus her accents French and I guess I should Slavic (could be Russian or another slavic country) were really good. Her voice males were also well done. She has done an excellent job, I guess I should look for any of her work as a narrator. Now more about the book: although this is based upon numerous fairytales and a tiny bit of Norse Mythology, the author took her imagination to blend in many well known fairytales: Snow White, Red Ridding Hood, Jack and The Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Rumpelstilskin, Beauty and The Beast and other less famous. I must say this isn't one of those sweet Disney Fairytale either, THERE ARE SOME VIOLENT DEATHS… BUT NO SEXUAL CONTENT. In truth most original fairytales have death or some bad moments.. so in my opinion if your child can accept death in stories this is an excellent book that shows the bravery, generosity, compassion and endurance of the hero, The Woodcutter. Now unless I'm mistaken its never revealed his true name… although some characters do try to find out his name. The Woodcutter plays the part of hero, but also of a detective and in someways of a sort of godmother?!?! I guess its pretty clear I loved the book…almost wish there's a sequel but I'm also happy with the standalone book. I totally recommend it ! Enjoy it !!!
I really enjoyed this story, a rehashing and a nice interweaving of classical fairytales. The characters were unique, their desires understandable, the world an exciting mix of familiar and new.
But the narration really threw me out of it. The narration was over done the ENTIRE time. For critical moments, it would have been fine, after listening it to hours and hours, it really wears down on a person. I found I couldn't take this story very seriously, because I found the narration for baffling.
I want to recommend this so much, but I can't recommend the narration.
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