Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Darkwood by M. E. Breen

Tags: middle grade, YA, dark fantasy, animals

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


In 12-year-old Annie’s world, it goes from daylight to pitch-black night in a matter of seconds, and everyone is wary of the kinderstalk, creatures who steal children in the darkness. But when Annie’s uncle tries to sell her to the Dropmen, who need small children to mine ringstone, the event sets Annie off on a journey across the country, where she will meet with the king and try to convince everyone that something sinister is happening in her little corner of the nation. Along the way, Annie will meet a few new friends, find out some astonishing secrets, and learn the truth about herself, her heritage, and her destiny.


If you’re a middle schooler with a penchant for the dark side, you might be able to enjoy this book. Otherwise, you might just think it’s a veritable mess of secrets and plot points.

The novel’s concept admittedly hooked me; I was curious to see what the author would do with a world where day and night were sharply defined. And for the first couple of chapters, I was definitely intrigued: Annie was a resilient protagonist (even if she doesn’t act like a regular 12-year-old at all), and I was just beginning to explore this different world with Annie.

However, then Annie begins her quest, and things just seemed to simultaneously speed up and drag. Things are introduced to us in a blinding flash, popping up and then disappearing before they are ever fully explained. At the same time, nothing seems to happen; Annie doesn’t learn about herself and her past until the very end, which meant that for the rest of the book, she was simply caught up in a lot of confusing and sudden events.

Fans of darker fairy tales (such as the movie The Brothers Grimm) might enjoy DARKWOOD and its animalistic element. The ending does promise more books where Annie’s story and purpose will hopefully be better explained. In the meantime, however, DARKWOOD was difficult for me to get through, which led to a marked lack of enjoyment on my part.

Similar Authors
Christine & Ethan Rose (Rowan of the Wood)
Holly Black
R. J. Anderson (Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter)

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Plot: 2/5
Want More? No

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Thank you, Anna at Bloomsbury, for allowing me to review this book!


  1. This book sounded interesting to me too, and I still may read it, but thanks for the heads up on your thoughts on it.

  2. Thanks for your review. I don't really read middle-grade books anymore and I doubt I will but my sister might like it.

  3. The cover art is intriguing, and it does sound like my type of dark read. I did like the movie, The Brothers Grimm, so maybe I'll like this one, too?

    Thanks for giving your honest opinion on it, I'll take it into consideration when I'm decideing on this book :-)

  4. Yeah, this book sounded interesting to me too, but after reading your review, I'm having second thoughts.

  5. I had about the same thoughts on it. I enjoyed the first half a lot, but the rest was too slow for me.


  6. I really like the cover of this one, and might give it a read when it's in paperback. It's a shame it was slow :/

  7. Not a fan of fantasy quest books. They have to be done REALLY well.


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