When a murder of crows kidnaps Prue McKeel’s baby brother Mac, the adventure begins in Colin Meloy’s Wildwood.  Mirroring C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Meloy’s young adult fantasy involves you immediately in the possibility of a coyote army and talking eagles in the world of the impassable forest on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon.

Accompanied by Curtis, a school buddy who likes to draw superheroes, Prue ventures into the forbidden forest to rescue her brother, but soon finds herself embroiled in the politics of power, with good vs evil at war.  The ending includes the dramatic battle.

Key moments in the action are illustrated by Carson Ellis (Colin Meloy’s wife in real time) and the flavor of their native Oregon seeps into the green story – complete with bicycles and tangling ivy.

Meloy takes his time describing the details of the world across the ravine, and the action slows in places, but this is the first of a trilogy, so now the characters are well grounded for the next adventure, with Prue just starting to realize her unusual powers.  Let the games continue – a fun read for middle schoolers, with a little mystery, strong confrontations, and a twelve-year-old heroine who saves the day.