Friday, December 1, 2017

WHICHWOOD BY TAHEREH MAFI - BOOK REVIEW

This book is such a contrast to the fun, magical story that was Furthermore. While the story is set in the same world, there is definitely a much darker and, I don't want to sinister, but sinister tone to it. I think this was what I was missing in book one because I quite enjoyed this one.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi! Thanks so much to Random House for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review, as always all opinions are my own.


This story follows Laylee, a girl who is part of a line of mordeshoors, people who wash the bodies of the dead to help their spirits transition to Otherwhere. Laylee lives in Whichwood, a magical place connected to Ferenwood by secret underwater elevators. After returning from their journey in Furthermore, Alice and Oliver set off on a new adventure, Alice's Surrender. Laylee is taken for granted and soon she won't be able to handle the work the town gives her. Alice's mission is to save Laylee before it is too late and the spirits take their revenge.

Going into this book, I was expecting it to be a companion novel to the first book, which I suppose it was, but Alice and Oliver were a part of most of the story, something I wasn't expecting. I thought the only similarities would be the magical worlds, so I was happy to see some familiar faces. That being said, I would highly recommend you read Furthermore first. Mafi does a good job of explaining important details that happened in that book here, but there are a few spoilers for book one in this one.

While this book is part of the series, it felt very different from book one. I think part of that was the fact that this book deals with much more important subject matter. Like Alice, Laylee's father has left, but he is driven by his desire to find Death and demand his wife be given back to him. This book is laced with grief and I think that made it feel a lot darker than the first one did. Which I really appreciated because I found that book one was a little too Happily Ever After for me. The end is hopeful in this book, but Mafi doesn't shy away from the darker side of life.

This book has a bit more of a romance than the first book did. Particularly with Oliver, we see a lot of romantic emotion development, which, for a 14-year-old boy, is hard to comprehend. Mafi's depictions of Oliver's feelings were really interesting and quite insightful, I don't think I've read a development of emotions quite like this before and I really enjoyed it.

Like the first book, this one is told by a hidden narrator. Once again, we don't find out who it is (I'm hoping there's at least one more book in this series and we will find out who it is because I NEED TO KNOW!). They do a great job of keeping the story moving, giving little inside bits of info and, in some instances, giving away what happens. These moments were okay, however, because they helped guide the plot instead of spending the whole book wondering where things were going.

Once again, I am struck by the writing style of this book. As in book one, the language is quite elevated and flowery. I think some descriptors weren't necessarily needed, but I suppose they helped give an imaginative background for the story. I do think, however, that some of the diction was a little too high level for a middle-grade novel. I'm in university and there were some words that I didn't know what they meant. I can only imagine a 12- or 13-year-old trying to get through some of them.

I also found it interesting that there was some groundwork set for Oliver four years later, does that mean a YA or NA novel is coming?? I'd totally be on board!

Overall, I think I enjoyed this book more than the first one and look forward to any and all continuations of this series.