Sunday, August 9, 2009

Darkwood by M. E. Breen

Here's an interesting recent release (May 12, 2009) from Bloomsbury that uses fairy tale motifs.

"Darkwood" is by M.E. Breen and it's shelved YA, though from the description it's really for everybody.

Here's the Amazon blurb:
Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening. One minute the sky is light, the next minute it is black. But darkness comes in other forms, too, and for thirteen-year-old Annie, the misery she endures in her Uncle’s household makes the black of night seem almost soothing. When Annie escapes, her route takes her first to a dangerous mine where a precious stone is being stolen by an enemy of the king, and later to the king’s own halls, where a figure from Annie’s past makes a startling appearance. All the while, reported sightings of kinderstalk— mysterious, wolf-like creatures that prowl Howland’s dark forests—grow more frequent. Eloquent, suspenseful, and imbued with fairy-tale motifs found in The Brothers Grimm, this is a riveting coming-of-age story of a girl who must learn to trust her instincts if she’s to lead the people she is destined to rule.
With a starred review from Kirkus, a favorable review from Booklist, phrases in reader reviews like 'don't miss' & 'a new classic', and words like kinderstalk and Darkblog (where Ms. Breen - pictured on the right - has her blog), I'm going to have to check it out. (You can read chapter 1 as a free PDF download HERE.)

From the blurb and the first chapter I have to hope this book inspires a few artists to get drawing/painting. Apothecaries, hidden pockets, the dark woods and, again, the kinderstalk.. need I say more?

There is, at least, a gorgeous cover to start us off.

It's by Swedish artist Alexander Jansson and clearly says 'fairy tale echoes inside'! In fact, I found the book through the fairy tale-like illustration so he's obviously done a great job of reflecting the content and catching the interest of people who like their fantasy with some fairy tale influence (i.e. me). I'll be profiling this amazing illustrator/artist tomorrow's post.

I've posted Jansson's cover work without the text below so you can get a closer look at some of his lovely painting and texturing (just click on the image). Enjoy!


  1. My daughter has been searching for young adult fantasy, both for herself, though she's firmly in "adult" category now, and for making up a book list for the daughter of one of my friends. I'll have to point her to this site! She likes all kinds of fantasy, with all kinds of themes. I'll have to ask her about ME Breen. (I can think of some authors, including Tamora Pierce, which is one we recommended to our young friend.) She's also currently enamored of Rumor & Qix by Kathleen Wilson. She says it's set far in the future, when synthetics have replaced the world's flora and fauna. The world is totally fake (but beautiful) but no one seems to notice and everyone's forgotten what "real" nature is. That's about all I know about it, except that she loved it, and that the book has a "green" theme.

    1. If your daughter likes books for like young adults I recommend the hex hall series by Rachel Hawkins

  2. You should write a nother book to continue the book and make it a begginning of a series.

    1. True, so that (Spoiler Alert) you can know how i't like to live with a wolf and stuff.