By: Kate Danley
Narrated by: Sarah Coomes
Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity. The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown. But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood. Blending magic, heart-pounding suspense, and a dash of folklore, The Woodcutter is an extraordinary retelling of the realm of fairy tales.
If you’ve seen any of my other reviews, you’ll start to notice a pattern. I read other reviews. Well, I skim them. I browse through them before and after I’ve read/listened to a book. Sometimes, when I’m in the middle of reading, I go through them again wondering if anyone has had the same thoughts that I’m having.
I don’t remember why I picked this one. Probably because I’m DIY renovating and love to listen to books while I work. This was free with Kindle Unlimited with narration.
Reading the blurb, I’m like others who thought The Woodcutter is something that it’s not. (Of course, now I want to write the book I was expecting and random thoughts keep popping into my head about that!)
Other reviewers also mentioned the writing style. It does feel like Kate Danley hasn’t found her own voice. It feels as if she’s borrowing a voice. My suggestion is to listen to it. All the old fairy tales are dry, emotionless things to which you have to add your own responses. Listening to the narration really brings The Woodcutter to life. Although I wasn’t very fond of Sarah Coomes’s voice, she really adds something to the story.
Maybe because I’ve read all those stories in their various forms and I’ve analyzed them for a thesis I could recognize them easily and nothing was confusing. I felt like I’ve been in that forest before and I was returning to a place I called home for a little while. (Also watch, Into the Woods: Stories just seem to revolve around a forest. I remember when I first read Grimms back in high school, I wondered briefly why the characters didn’t run into each other. They were all talking about the woods. They all went on a quest or got lost or whatever didn’t involve staying home.)
What makes The Woodcutter interesting for me is that his character is the wise helper found in many of the fairy tales. He never intervenes. He does his job perfectly allowing the fairy tale to play itself out.
Other reviews complain that the characters are not filled out. In fairy tales, the story is about the plot and the lesson. We don’t need a road map into the hearts and minds of every single character. The Wolf is bad. Red Riding Hood is innocent and naïve. Cinderella lived through a horrible period before meeting her prince. In the original story, we never know why the Evil Queen wanted Snow White dead, other than the fact that she was Evil and jealous. Seriously, Maleficent cursed Sleeping Beauty with death because she wasn’t invited to a party! We don’t bitch at the Grimms for lack of character development.
The main character, the Woodcutter is the one we need to care understand. And I found that I did.
This is a neat place to visit. Let your mind go and just listen. There are a lot of things happening here, but it really is all tied together. If you can follow Game of Thrones (the book, not the show), this is easy peasy. Especially if you’ve already read and re-read all the fairy tales you can get your hands on.
My suggestion as with all things: listen to other opinions, but if you’re interested in something, delve into it yourself and make your own opinion. The Woodcutter is completely worth reading.
When I sat down to write this I didn’t know what I was going to say. The only thing that I could come up with was that it made me cry. And all I thought to write was True love conquers all…true love comes in many forms. It’s the purity of the love that makes it magic.