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.
If the author had developed an internal storyline more than just merging a collection of fables, it would have been intensely more commanding. Unfortunately, I found myself groaning at the "introduction" of each expected character.
No, fables/fairy tales/folk lore is such a rich and imaginative form of literature. I cannot imagine missing out on great extensions of the classics just because this was such a mash up.
I found myself distracted by the attempted character voices.
I found this book interesting enough to finish, so I gave it 3 stars. I like fantasy and mythology and enjoyed the weaving of traditional fairy tale characters into this mystery in which the Woodcutter plays detective, judge, and executioner based on an eternal agreement between him (and his paternal ancestors) and the Fay, the trees, and the earth. A subtle religious undertone erupts at the very end. The power of the earth, trees, and magic should have been sufficient to effect the happily-ever-after ending without invoking a resurrection. However, regardless of the plot, thematic, narrative flaws, it was the reading that was the worst aspect. This was truly a story to be read aloud, but the characters' voices, especially the woodcutter's, were forced and irritating.
I didn't particularly like the way the book was read. While I thought some voices were beautifully done, overall I found it to be too dramatically read. For almost everything, including the chapter titles, she used a dramatic breathy voice. So I guess the answer to this would be yes, but conditionally.
I liked the way the author played with the different fairy tales and wove them into the story. It was fun to recognize the stories...and yet...not. And to think about some kind of presence in the background making sure everything happens as it should and things don't spin out of control. Except they did...and that is the story :)
The narrator could have chosen her moments to heighten the drama with her voice more carefully.
I don't want to give away any of the good bits. There were lots of moving moments. It is a fairy tale so there is lots of excitement.
Books make the world a better place
What happens when someone or something interferes in fairytales? Well, this is not your typical Disney or Mother Goose story but knowledge of the classic fairytales your mother read you is the absolute key to recognizing characters like Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc. and identifying their basic fairytale-patterns. Those familiar will appreciate the weaving together of several different tales. In truth, part of the fun is in figuring out the connections and how the author shifts each story from its original telling.
This is a unique book and the twists in Kate Danley’s story of ‘many stories’ take you down dark paths, making The Woodcutter engrossing and entertaining for adults. The plot is well thought out, the writing is fast-paced and there is plenty of action. You can't help but fall in love with the unusual man who is this story's main character and true 'Prince Charming'. Although he does not cut wood he is known simply as the Woodcutter. He understands magic and the balance between the fae and mortals. He is the protector of the enchanted creatures and trees. He struggles to right the many fairytales-gone-wrong, ultimately sacrificing the greatest thing he possesses in order to keep the twelve kingdoms free from the sinister designs of the evil 'Gentleman and Queen'.
It is not hard to see why this book took so many awards, such as the Garcia Award for Best Fiction Book of the Year. It does not disappoint and so I recommend this audiobook as a quick, fun listen for anyone who is grown up but nostalgic for those once upon a time, fairytale days.
Kate Danley is a remarkable voice actor and really draws you into the story with her various voices and well portrayed emotions. I loved reading this book along with the audio. It was amazing.
If you liked the twists that Gregory Maguire put on classic fairy tales (eg Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister, Mirror-Mirror, etc.) or The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, you might also enjoy this twist-up of fairy tales.
Unlike the Maguire books, in particular, in his story, many (all?) of the Grimm fairy tales are part of the larger story - and twisted. A fun read/listen.
It reads like a fairytale and in this case that is not a good thing. The charm of moderday retelling of fairytales is in the filling out of one-dimensional characters. The premise of this novel is interesting, but all the characters are so one-dimensional it makes it boring.
Retired teacher and interpreter. I read classic and contemporary fiction, as well as Mystery/Suspense/Horror, Fantasy&Sci-fi.
Of our best loved classic fairy tales re-imagined...
The underlying rules, the roles played by each character now bent to a new tale. A lush and lyrical fairy tale that will have lovers of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson nodding to themselves as they recognize the scraps used the make this lovely quilt.
if you don't fancy yourself a critic ... and like the idea of hearing fairy tales again...then a clever rambling story combined with a terrific narrator made this a favorite listen ... and not at all ironically, great to fall asleep to !
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