EDGEWOOD: A NOVEL, by Kristen Ciccarelli, Wednesday Books, March 1, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
A girl must face her past to save her beloved grandfather in Kristen Ciccarelli’s dark young adult fantasy, Edgewood.
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. —Synopsis provided by Wednesday Books
Edgewood is an atmospheric novel that depends on setting just as much as its characters. In fact, the forest, which is essentially and extension of the Wood King, is a character in and of itself. Character and setting are organically combined, creating an immersive experience.
Author Kristen Ciccarelli does a fine job setting the stage; however, it isn’t until Emeline returns home that her story really finds its footing. I suppose the juxtaposition between the two worlds is intentional, but it lacks the “magic” found in other places throughout the novel.
Though the publisher’s suggested age is simply young adult (ages 12 and up), it seems a better fit for older teen/new adults as the romance elements are more detailed than standard YA books. That said, Edgewood moves quickly, and fans of romance will likely eat it up.
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