Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: March 1st, 2022 (Wednesday Books)
Synopsis: No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.
When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.
Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal – her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.
With the help of Hawthorne – an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day – Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.
Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Emeline wants to become a famous singer and her hard work has finally brought her close to getting a big break when she receives a call from her hometown informing her that her grandfather has disappeared. She returns to Edgewood, a town where mysterious occurrences near the woods are not uncommon and the people are all rather superstitious and firm believers in the magical forces that dwell within. The rumor is that her grandfather has been tithed to the Wood King and now belongs to his court deep in the woods. Emeline has never believed in these stories, but having exhausted all other options, ventures into the woods, determined to get him back, only to find out that all the stories were true.
I was admittedly very nervous to read this book (hence why I put it off until a week before release date) because the last book I read by this author, The Last Namsara, really did not work for me. Luckily, this was a very different type of story to that one, and it caught my interest almost immediately. The world building was beautifully executed and really brings to life the magical forest and all its inhabitants. The parts of the story set in the real world on the other hand didn’t feel as well written and I was just turning the pages until the plot returned to the woods. It has several common fantasy and fairytale tropes, but puts a unique spin on them, resulting in quite a fascinating, not to mention entertaining read.
As for the characters, I have to say I couldn’t really connect with them, and I felt that the characters didn’t have enough depth to them. Some of characters Emeline meets in the Wood King’s court did seem really interesting and it would have been nice if the story had taken time to develop these arcs better. I was also not too impressed with the romance. Initially, it seemed like it had a lot of potential, but there was so much else going on that this arc ended up feeling rushed. My focus was entirely on what would happen next on Emeline’s quest to save her grandfather and how it would all end, so definitely plot over characters with this one.
The pacing was quite good at first, but soon became rather inconsistent and choppy, and it took nearly 40% of the book before Emeline’s quest is finally revealed. Also, the magic system remained extremely vague right to the end, and considering how important a role it played, some clarity on the situation would have been helpful.
Overall, I found Edgewood to be a pleasant read. Despite a few issues, the story was engaging enough for me to keep reading to the end and it was a satisfactory conclusion to this narrative. Fans of these tropes are sure to enjoy this book and I would definitely recommend it!
Edgewood releases on March 1st, 2022.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!