Nothing promises revival like a fairy tale.
What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine was a completely refreshing read for me. I haven’t read a fantasy/magical realism book in a long time. Either the Harry Potter series or the Inkworld series were the last fantasy stories I indulged in. I was probably in the 8th grade.
Fine convinced me that I still really love this genre. What Should Be Wild is a story of a young girl, Maisie, who was born with the ability to give life or death to any being with just the touch of her finger. She spends much of the book trying to understand why she has been cursed and who she is to become.
Better prepare for a new journey than contemplate the meaning of the one I had just taken.
Maisie’s father keeps her hidden away in her family’s manor near a dark and mysterious forest. It is revealed that her female ancestors, dating as far back as the year 400, have all been trapped in the woods by some sort of magic. An endless line of curses.
Maisie spends much of the story trying to find her father who has vanished into thin air. She learns what life is all about: beauty, pain, truth, and deception.
Overall I thought this was a unique story with some very interesting characters. At the same time, I think there were either too many characters involved, or not enough time fleshing them out. There is a major detour in the story line that felt lackluster. It was never completely clear as to why it was necessary. The ending was OK. Not as big or explosive as it was building up to be.
Imagine all your life the earth is green and brown and quiet. Your days pass slowly. You celebrate the sun. All magic is of trees and dappled shadows, all mountains peaked eruptions from an old ancestral earth, a ground so sacred there has been no cause to name it.
I think my biggest takeaway from this book is that I want to dive back into the world of fantasy and magic realism stories again. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for my childhood of curling up on the couch and reading for hours on end.