Out of the Wild

After I raved about Into the Wild, I got an email in the mailbox from Sarah Beth Durst (when that happens, I have to admit that I get all fan-girly: an author’s reading my blog!) offering me an ARC for the sequel. I would have been stupid to say no…

M got to it first, and raved about it. And so, in between review books and challenge books I decided to see what Julie, Rapunzel and all the rest of the fairy-tale characters were up to.

I couldn’t put the book down.

While Into the Wild is a wonderful, brilliant idea in it’s own right, Out of the Wild takes everything to a more complex, deeper, more fascinating (and scarier) level. It seems not everyone has been happy with Rapunzel’s decision to escape the Wild — that in itself is a complex issue, even the escape wasn’t a happily-ever-after for everyone — and the Wild’s development in the first book was just a step. Six weeks later, the Wild spits out Julie’s dad — Rapunzel’s prince — who has a hard time accepting that his role as a hero is not to be his fate in this world. As soon as he senses a quest, he’s off. And Julie — who knows the danger of the Wild — is off to stop him. There’s some fascinating stuff going on here: parent-child relationships, the value of choice, the problems of freedom and of making decisions… The real enjoyment here is that it can be enjoyed on more than one level: there’s some great adventure going on here (chasing a fire-breathing dragon on a flying bathmat, or being eaten by a wolf to name a couple) in addition to all the thought- and discussion-provoking issues. It’s a perfect mix.

Julie’s still a great heroine — spunky, thoughtful, daring, yet still imperfect. I love that she makes mistakes, yet is able to deal with them and work with them. And I still love what Durst does with fairy tale characters. I like how she uses the fairy tales, working not only with characters but with the individual elements in the tales, and, ultimately, the telling of the tales. And this book, like the first, has an absolutely perfect ending.

The only sad part is that you have to wait until June 19th to read it.

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