Julia Fine was able to craft an entire family’s mythology for What Should Be Wild. Starting with a family curse of the Blakely women that spans centuries, Fine created a new, dark, and unfamiliar world where legends and myths turn out to be true. Coeurs Crossing is a village where the Blakely curse and the power and mysteries stemming from the forest affect everyone who lives there. What I like best about this novel is Fine gives you the ability to hear the negatives about the forest from the legends of the town, and also see the positive and protective quality of the forest from the Blakely women’s viewpoints.
From the first page you get hooked with a character, Maisie, who is born from death and has powers to create and end life. When Maisie’s father disappears, she is forced to go on a coming-of-age style journey to grasp the facts of her family’s secrets and her purpose in life. Despite the limitations placed on Maisie as a child, she has a yearning to learn and explore and is desperate for human relationships. After meeting Matthew, Maisie begins to experience more about the world outside her Urizon home and discover how thrilling, complicated, and deceitful human relationships can be.
Despite my love for an author that can create a storyline and world I have not known, I was slightly disappointed overall. The book jumps constantly from Maisie’s storyline to any of the other Blakely women’s stories. The histories of the past Blakely women do not appear to be in a time related order to help the reader distinguish each woman which makes it easy to confuse each of them. I also felt like I could never really connect deeply with the storyline since as soon as an exciting event would take place, the novel would switch to another character really disrupting the flow and eliminating any tension and excitement that had been built up.
Fine creates a wonderful world filled with magic and mysteries, but the ending and organization of the book left me wanting a little bit more.
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