Title: Wood Angel
Author: Erin Bow
Publication: UK - March 2011 | US - 2010
Format: Paperback - 288 pages
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult
Kate lives in a time afraid of magic.
Alone in the world with only her cat Taggle for company, she makes 'lucky' wooden charms to sell, although her unusual gift marks her out in a place where witches are still burned.
When Kate's village falls on bad times, she's accused of practising dark magic. Scared for her life, she turns to a stranger. But he has a plan more dangerous than she could ever have dreamed.
It's up to Kate to carve good out of evil.
This is a difficult review to write since this is such a frustrating book with such a wonderful plot and writing style.
Wood Angel is about a girl, Kate, or plain Kate as she calls herself, who carves wood into good luck charms for money. Her looks and skills with a knife soon capture the attention of the town when crops die and the weather is bad. Kate is accused of witchcraft and runs for her life, coming across dangers along the way to finding a place where she belongs.
This story is told with such a magical, classic, old-timey, story-teller feel that reading it literally made me feel like I was being told an old fairytale, similar to red riding hood, by the fire. It was so wonderfully written that I couldn't help but fall in love with the story from the very beginning. Don't get me wrong, this read was pretty gruesome at times with people being set on fire and almost being chopped to pieces by an axe. It just had this really nice feel to it that made the more dramatic turns in the story even more shocking than I think they would seem to be otherwise.
I also loved the plot. I was something different to what I've been reading lately and it was a welcome break. It's always nice to find something so unique in the plot of any book and Wood Angel was definitely that. It had the kind of plot that can make readers feel hatred towards a certain character and yet empathise with them at the same time. That's always interesting to me, the constant debate that I had with whether or not I really despised this character or if I understood where he was coming from even if he was going about it in entirely the wrong way. It gave the whole book a new aspect that I liked - a lot more depth than there was initially.
What I had a problem with was some of the characters, including the protagonist, Kate. At the start of the novel I liked her character and towards the end I still found her sweet and loveable. It's just that I hate the fact that I figured out what was happening in the plot before she did. I always feel that if the main character in any book doesn't realise what's going on before I do they're incredibly dense. If it's obvious to the reader, it's obvious to the character. That was what was most frustrating and it happened quite a bit. It was like for the entire length of the book I was waiting for her to catch up.
Another problem I had was that the ending wasn't resolved in my opinion. I hate that. I didn't know where Kate stood with all the other characters - as a reader I was just told that 'she lives happily ever after'. No thank you. I was so desperate to find out what happens between her and Dina ( a friend she makes), and Behjet (Dina's uncle). It's still annoying me. :(
Overall though, I really did enjoy reading this one, if not for the great story line, it was for the great writing.
My rating: 7/10