She has a gift for carving ‘lucky’ wooden-charms. Known as Witch-Blade, her unusual gift attracts dangerous attention in a place where witches are burned. When her village falls on bad times, suspicion falls on Kate. Scared for her life, she seeks the help of a mysterious stranger.
In exchange for her shadow, the stranger will assist her, but Kate becomes part of a terrifying plan, darker than she ever dreamed.
This book was first published as 'Plain Kate' in the USA.
I can't really think of how to start this review so I'm going to start by saying that this book is very unique. The book itself, in my opinion reads like a fairytale. It has the right levels of fun, adventure and darkness to make this book a great reading experience for young (though not too young) or old. Think the real Brothers Grimm fairytales, with all the darkness and depth and a little bit of blood and violence, that is exactly how this book reads.
Erin Bow's prose is very simple, she tells the story in a matter-of-fact way, but somehow the words she uses and the way she describes things really makes the narration read beautifully. She draws out the emotions in the characters meaning that you really empathise with them.
I loved Kate, the heroine. Despite everything she goes through she never gives up, but at the same time she does come across as vulnerable, she comes somewhere between kick-ass and whiny and I really loved that. The bad guy, Linay wasn't all bad either, he had depth and reasoning behind the way he acted, which had me suffering from some sort of fictional Stockholm Syndrome (I really, really wanted him to turn out to be a really good guy in the end).
Taggle the cat really steals the show though, he's exactly how you'd expect a cat to be, a bit selfish, witty, sly and very loyal. Words can't explain how much I loved everything that Taggle said, without spoiling the story, Taggle is an extremely loyal companion!
This book is really great plot and pace wise, with a fantastic story. The tones are actually quite bitter, the book is set in a world with fear everywhere and Erin Bow really builds up this atmosphere very well.
The only thing that bothered me was that despite the tones being dark and there being some pretty scary goings on, Wood Angel reads like a childrens book and not the YA the content would suggest!
Don't mistake this book for a really happy fairytale because it really is not! I did really enjoy this book and would highly recommend it!
Overall rating: B+
Stand alone/series: Stand Alone
Paperback Release: March 7th 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Chicken House
Book obtained via: Given for review purposes by Chicken House
Many kind thanks to Claire from Chicken House for getting this book to me!