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The Wood

Review

The Wood

As Winter grew up, she learned about the wood, the enchanted section of forest behind her house. The patch of trees is part of a larger area of forest that contains thresholds: small, invisible openings into the past or future that allow individuals to travel from their own time to the present. Expecting mankind to use these thresholds to change the past or escape to a different time, the Old Ones, a race of immortal beings, gathered a group of humans willing to guard patches of the wood, returning travelers back to their own time and preventing manipulative use of the thresholds.

These men and women pledged themselves and their descendants as guardians, meaning they would report back to the council. The partnership between these groups continued for many generations, and the guardians passed on their knowledge of the wood and their duties to their children, including the three rules of the wood designed to keep both the guardian and the wood safe: do not travel from the paths, do not linger after dark, and do not ignore the calling --- because while the guardians are tied to the wood during the day, the wood (and the creatures in it) do not feel the same loyalty in the dark.

"THE WOOD is a story with an interesting premise that balances both action and plot with the exploration of ideas like responsibility, family and maturity....Chelsea Bobulski blended elements of fantasy...with science fiction concepts...really well."

Winter always obeyed these rules, and her father did too --- at least, until he went missing in the wood one morning. The only explanation for his disappearance is that he wandered off the paths, but Winter believes this to be impossible. As she carries on her duties in his absence, strange occurrences start to convince her that their might be more to her dad’s disappearance: the wood is sick, the woodland creatures are becoming more threatening and a young man from the eighteenth century appears and claims that he might have some clues.  

THE WOOD is a story with an interesting premise that balances both action and plot with the exploration of ideas like responsibility, family and maturity. The idea of an enchanted wood was interesting to read about, and Chelsea Bobulski blended elements of fantasy (enchanted forests, beings with special powers) with science fiction concepts (time travel) really well. It was also interesting how the forest was not purely good or purely evil, but rather it had both beautiful and dangerous elements to it. This made it more interesting to see how the characters related to it and how they felt about their duty to guard the wood.

In terms of relationships, the bond between Winter and her mother was the strongest and most developed connection in the book. Bobulski did an excellent job describing Winter’s conflict between her duties to the wood and desire to keep her mom from worrying about her, and how her mom viewed her responsibilities as well. This relationship tied into the overall idea of responsibility, which permeated the entire novel as the author explored how we view responsibility as both a gift and a burden, and how having responsibility changes us over time depending on our attitude toward it.

The main weakness of the book was the pacing of the plot. The climax and subsequent resolution seemed rushed, and the ending didn’t necessarily tie up all the loose threads that readers might be wondering about. In addition, the romance felt like it appeared too quickly and wasn’t entirely genuine, and the book might have stood better without it at all, leaving more time to explore other issues.

All in all, THE WOOD is a good pick for readers who would like to see a fantasy concept developed in the present day. The story is a unique idea that guarantees an interesting read and promises to provide both suspense and intrigue, along with depth and relationships that guarantee the book isn’t just a light read. In the end, readers might just be left wondering what’s hiding in the woods --- and making sure they don’t stay behind after dark. 

Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member on August 16, 2017

The Wood
by Chelsea Bobulski