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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

#allthebookreviews: What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine @harperbooks @finejuli

What Should Be Wild
by Julia Fine

Thanks so much to Harper Books for this unique and gorgeous read.
Another #allthebookreviews read!  See what Jessica and I both thought below.

Publisher:  Harper Books
Publishing:  May 8, 2018
368 Pages
Genres:  Magical Realism, Supernatural, Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!

Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

My Review:

What a delicious and dark fairy tale/magical realism/fantasy - I'm unsure how to actually categorize this one!  Very unique and probably won't be for every reader because of how different it is.  The main storyline is Maisie, her unique ability to bring things to life or to kill them with her very touch, and her quest to find her father, Peter, when he disappears - seemingly to go looking for her.

And then we get my favorite parts - the darker side.  Where the women in the forest, who span decades and lifetimes, are waiting.  Waiting for the girl with the special power, whose spirit has been dampened all these years.  I absolutely LOVED the background stories of each of them.  Honestly, I had no idea what was going on half of the time... and yet I was utterly fascinated with where the book was going.

I try very hard not to read reviews of books I plan to read and review .. yet there were a couple of unavoidable ones going around about the feminist point of the book.  Um, I must be a horrible woman as I didn't really catch that "theme" in this read.  Or maybe it's not something I was looking for.  Instead, I took this read as almost lore, the past lives of Maisie, how she came to have this power and the decisions she has to make along the way. 

I was slightly let down by the ending.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the final part where we get to learn exactly how Maisie came to have these powers.  However, I think I expected there to be more of an epic conclusion of some kind.  Kind of like that firecracker you light up and then it just kind of fizzles out... has a little pop but no colorful bursts.  

If you like magical realism, "feminist" fairytales (or just darker fairy tales in general), and a unique read about a forest who steals women, then you should definitely give this book a read.  I absolutely love the unique way it was written and the over all darker side of Maisie's history.  


Jessica's Review:

Not going to lie, this cover drew me in right away. This will definitely be a cover buy for some book worms browsing the shelves at bookstores, and they'll get an absorbing read to go with it! WHAT SHOULD BE WILD by Julia Fine is unlike other books I've read this year. I know I frequent the thriller genre, but I also love books with a touch of retelling or fairytales.

Maisie is cursed. She was born with the power to kill or resurrect with a single touch, because of this, she has spent her entire life captive in her family's manor on the edge of a forest. This forest is unlike any other - all of her female ancestors have wandered in and never returned. When Maisie's father disappears, she must leave the walls that confine her in order to find him. As she gets farther away from her home and the woods, she feels herself being drawn back in. Will she be able to finally come to terms with her powers? What do the woods have in store for her?

This book had incredible backstories for all of the women that were cursed and stuck in the woods. They were all waiting for the girl with the incredible powers to help set them free. We also get to know Maisie and how she came to have these powers of hers. I had no idea what to expect when going into this book, and I loved the character development with the dark lore elements. I would have to agree with my partner reader, Chandra, that I didn't really feel the feminist theme that people have been talking about, but I'm sure others will!

If you're looking for an incredibly unique premise that falls into the dark fairytale genre, then this is the perfect book for you!

I give this 4/5 stars!

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