I was drawn to Colin Meloy's Wildwood for two very superficial yet important reasons.
First, the cover is spectacular!
Carson Ellis has done illustrations for Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead and Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society. In Wildwood, Ellis gives the readers a beautifully illustrated novel complete with colored bookplates — something I haven't seen in quite some time.
The second reason I picked up the book is because I've been a fan of the author's day job as frontman for the band The Decemberists, and while I'm often skeptical of books written by celebrities (I'm looking at you Snooki!), I was still curious enough to check it out.
Wildwood starts in Portland, Oregon, where seventh grader Prue McKeel witnesses her baby brother being kidnapped by crows while she is babysitting. She watches him float towards the "Impassible Wilderness," a dense forest outside of Portland that no one dares to enter. Prue sneaks out early the next day with her neighbor Curtis in search of her brother, but is almost immediately faced with a pack of vicious coyote soldiers and is separated from her friend. What starts as a desperate rescue mission becomes much bigger when the friends find themselves thrown into the turmoil of a magical land called Wildwood.
I really enjoyed this book, all 541 pages of it! Winter is on its way, so if you are looking for a great adventure story to sink your teeth into as the days get shorter, look no further. Meloy's story can get a little lengthy at times for my taste, but experiencing the world that he creates is worth it. Ellis' illustrations are just perfect and such a treat.