Into the Wildewood
by Gillian Summers
Keelie and her father Zeke Heartwood have moved on to the Wildewood Renaissance Faire in upstate New York, but the magical world of elves, fairies, and tree spirits has moved with them. In this second book of the Faire Folk Trilogy, today's descendants of Tolkien's elves find themselves posing as jousters, princesses, and tradesmen for the entertainment of paying guests. But Keelie is something in between: half-human, half-elven, just beginning to come into her magical powers and learning how to use them. And when she overdoes it as a paying guest - making a thoughtlessly extravagant purchase - she is also forced to become a Rennie, donning a succession of costumes and ill-starred roles as this year's Jill of the Faire.
While her trials and failures as a faire worker are amusing, her lastest challenge as a tree shepherdess isn't. The trees surrounding the Faire are sick and angry. A nearby power plant is poisoning them, and someone is using dark magic to harm them even more. The unicorn guardian of these woods is dying. And now the other elven Rennies are getting sick, including Zeke. It's going to be up to Keelie to save everybody again, but she doesn't know what to do. Plus, she has to balance all this with the arrival of her two best friends - friends from entirely different worlds, but who for better or worse will be caught up in the adventure with her.
Here is a fantasy for your imagination to dwell on the next time you visit a Renaissance Faire. Suppose some of the actors aren't acting; suppose there is real intrigue and magic between them; suppose the drama that you don't see, playing out behind the scenes, is even better than the public show. There may be something to the hippie earth-magic and Luddite tree-hugging seemingly espoused by some Rennies... there may even be something beyond that, as distinct as the magic of Harry Potter's world from that practiced by Wiccans and pagans.
In this book you meet both kinds - human and elven magic users - and some are good, others evil. You witness the gradual transformation of an already compelling character as she grows into her powers and purpose, and as it begins to look like she may change the magical world: a world that only half accepts her because she is also half-human. You will enjoy the human side of her, and see how far she has grown since she discovered her elven side. And you will squirm like a worm on a hook as she makes every possible mistake leading up to the book's powerful climax. Then you'll squirm some more, since you'll have to wait until June 2009 for the final book of the trilogy, The Dread Forest's Secret. Visit the author's website for more information - though it may or may not mention that "Gillian Summers" is really the writing team of Berta Platas and Michelle Roper.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 14+
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