By: Kate Danley
Published By: 47North
Publication Date: November 2012
Page Count: 344
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Genre: Adult - Fantasy
This was delightful! I highlighted so many lovely passages on my Kindle from The Woodcutter. It was like a fairytale for grown up kids; so many fairy tales that I have loved over the years were cleverly woven into this tale, in such a way that you would have to be familiar with them to get the full reference. I think those parts would have been lost on a younger reader unless they had grown up with Disney movies from the good old days. Beloved characters like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jack (of bean stalk fame) and so so many more were all there. What I really loved was that their stories were made compatible with the tale of The Woodcutter while still remaining mostly unaltered. It was really very clever.
So what was The Woodcutter about? The battle between magic hungry humans and vengeful fairies. There is a fine balance to be kept where no more than half of the Twelve Kingdoms are allowed to unite against the fae in search of their magic; any more than that and all out war will ensue. Generally the peace is kept by true love, as a kiss from the true love of a fairy will seal their magic as being good, and all the rulers of the Kingdoms are of fae descent... with blue fae blood. (Nice touch!) The Woodcutter is an enigmatic chap tasked with helping to keep the peace. He looks after the fae in his enchanted wood, where trees talk to him and pixies flutter, and he makes sure that unwitting humans are as safe as possible. However, The Woodcutter becomes aware that all is not well in his wood, when someone unleashes a frightful beast that kills Little Red Riding Hood, and her Grandma. So he sets out on a quest to right some wrongs, and find out what happened to the pixies, who seem to be vanishing in droves.
There was a really lovely writing style in this book that felt like a timeless fairytale. Nearly none of the characters have first names; even The Woodcutter isn’t given a first name, although he has one. This is because names are a closely guarded secret, because those that know names hold power over the person; as Rumpelstiltskin finds out to his cost.
I found some elements to the story a little bit convoluted to keep track of, but generally I really enjoyed taking my time with this. The writing was so rich that I felt satisfied by even the smallest passages. This is definitely one to get around to, and would probably be a lovely book to read to a slightly older young child. There is a tiny bit of peril, and no bad language to worry about. They will love the pixies, and the talking trees, and you will be transported back to the time when you first heard good fairytales.
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 sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the 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.
Blending magic, heart-pounding suspense, and a dash of folklore, The Woodcutter is an extraordinary retelling of the realm of fairy tales.