Treacherous. Evil. Dark. Dorcha Wood is all of these. And none of them.
The people of Felmore talk of Dorcha Wood in whispers, if they speak of it at all, fearing the wrath of the Cù-Sìth should their words be carried on the wind. Those murdering beasts still roam the darkness of the forest, the last remnants of the cursed Aos Sí—a race of elves long since vanished from the world.
But to seventeen-year-old Fiadh, it is home. A haven. A forest whose secrets become known only when it chooses to reveal them. Her life is one of balance until the outside world shatters it.
From the moment Fiadh set eyes on Gideon, the peaceful rhythm of her life was lost. As a new path unfolds, Fiadh confronts the reality of old hatreds, the consequences of things hidden, and the truth of who she really is.
What I Enjoyed
The Girl of Dorcha Wood by Kristin Ward is an original and fresh beginning to what should be a riveting series if the first book is any indication.
I liked the dark fairy-tale quality that was almost Grimm-like in its intensity and violent nature. The setting is perfect for this type of story – a mysterious and much talked about woods where magical creatures are said to still reside. A witch in a gingerbread house would have equally fit into such a setting.
I also enjoyed the Irish/Scottish mythology that I had never encountered before. The Aos Si and Cu-Sith are ideas that are new to me, and I also enjoy learning about mythological creatures I’ve never heard of before. I adored the Cu-Sith. They are dangerous and terrifying, but they are utterly loyal to those they must protect.
The story is told in the third person, focused on Fiadh, and follows a chronological timeline. This makes for a focused story that reads very fast and is easy to follow. I read this easily in one sitting as I was immersed in Dorcha Wood and what would happen to Fiadh if the worst came to pass.
The main character is Fiadh. She is strong, independent, and fierce – a true Celtic heroine. She also has something mysterious about her, and that is very intriguing. Discovering the truth about Fiadh definitely is a compelling force in the tale.
Reminds Me Of
As I mentioned earlier, it reminded me of a Grimm fairy tale with its dark, scary wooded setting and how it doesn’t white-wash over the violence.
What I Wish
I wish that the dialogue had flowed much more naturally. It was very stilted and awkward, much like the romance between Fiadh and Gideon – which would have also benefitted by a more natural flow. These two aspects stood out to me, and I wish that they hadn’t – that they had just fit in as part of an otherwise delightful tale.
To Read or Not to Read
If you enjoy dark fairy tale stories full of mystery and mythology, you will enjoy The Girl of Dorcha Wood.
Kristin Ward is an award-winning young adult author living in Connecticut. A science and math teacher for over twenty years, she infuses her geeky passions into stories that meld realism and fantasy. Kristin embraces her inner nerd regularly, often quoting 80s movies while expecting those around her to chime in with appropriate rejoinders. As a nature freak, she can be found wandering the woods – she may be lost, so please stop and ask if you see her – or chilling in her yard with all manner of furry and feathered friends. Often referred to as a unicorn by colleagues who remain in awe of her ability to create or find various and sundry things in mere moments. In reality, the horn was removed years ago, leaving only a mild imprint that can be seen if she tilts her head just right. A lifelong lover of books and writing, she dreamed of becoming an author for thirty years before publishing her award-winning debut in 2018. Her first novel, After the Green Withered, is one of many things you should probably read.
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