Darkwood, by M.E. Breen, her first novel. And what a first novel it is! Annie lives in Howland, “it’s people have no word for evening. One minute the sky is light, the next minute it is black – an impenetrable, suffocating black, unlit by moon or stars.” And there are these strange creatures called kinderstalk that roam (you might say they “haunt”) the woods. According to the adults, they are looking for children to steal. Annie Trewitt is… relatively normal. Anyway, above, for the description of nightfall in Howland, I quoted from the inside of the “book jacket”. Reading from it now, I feel safe in telling you that Annie overhears her uncle planning something very bad, regarding her. She goes to the forest after awhile, sure that that’s the only place he wouldn’t follow.
That nearly proved to be wrong, luckily (you might say), some kinderstalk attacked him. She had blown out her lantern and cast herself, Prudence (a brown cat), and Isadore (an orange cat) into total darkness, where the difference between open eyes and closed eyes is completely nonexistent. The idea is a little scary isn’t it? Anyway, if you read the summary of the book on the book jacket, you might be surprised like I was by the way events happened. For example, Annie had fled from her Uncle Jock’s house to escape being sold to the Drop men (the Drop was a mine for ringstone), but she got caught anyway, because she didn’t remember Grandmother Hoop’s advice.
And it turns out that the children who had supposedly been abducted by kinderstalk (the most recent one being three years old) were actually either sold, or captured by the Drop men. Ugh, I hate their leader, his name is Frank Gibbet. He’s not a real person though. Oh no no no no… definitely not, you have to read to find out what he is exactly, ’cause I swore a solemn oath that I wouldn’t say. Just joking, but I DID promise myself I wouldn’t tell. But let’s get back to the story… Annie does escape the Drop (not too soon after finding her friend Gregory isn’t really dead), and decides to make her way to the palace so she can warn the King about Gibbet.
On the way she meets two twins, Selena (or was it Serena?) and Beatrice. They are very nice to her, Izzy, and Prudence, and Beatrice even makes a pair of slippers for Annie that have Izzy’s face one one, and Prudence’s on the other. To make a long story short, she gets to the palace, she finds her sister is alive, and then they escape to go liberate the people at the Drop and run across an even bigger plot, and Sharta the kinderstalk dies. That made me sad… he was so nice to Page!
I think this story is absolutely fantastic and am very glad that M.E. Breen wrote it, and didn’t abandon it in the middle of being written. All hail M.E. Breen I say! ^_^ She has a website too which has a blog, and she apparently hosts these things to show people how to write. To find out about those you’d have to go to the “News/Events” page. Read the story and enjoy, for it is amazing. Ten out of ten. 🙂