At the start of this story, we meet Max who seems like he might be human but with a twist. We learn about the phenom of this world called "The Vanishings" The answers to both lie within the Beginning Woods—a world like this one, “minus science and magic.”
Let's start with Max. As a baby, he seemed just to appear one day in a bookshop. He doesn't look like a typical baby with his spindly legs, pointy ears and a big row of sharp teeth. As he grows up, he becomes obsessed with finding his parents. Fitting of a boy who was born (appeared?) in a bookshop he reads dozens of fairy tales. Max believes there is a connection to finding his parents and putting an end to The Vanishings (which are the mystery that no one can solve – people disappearing into thin air without any trace left behind aside from piles of clothing.) Meanwhile, the number of people disappearing is increasing rapidly, and scientists have yet to discover the cause of what is going on, let alone how to fix it.
The Beginning Woods is like another dimension just off-kilter of our world. It's the world where all our fairy stories originate. Where the witches live, and the dragons, and all the other typical fairytale characters. I loved the concept of the importance of dreams, all the book love in there, the idea of Old and New Light. This book is beautifully written and unfolds slowly over 528 pages. It's worth the time- but you have to know it isn't an afternoon read. I think plenty of adults would enjoy it also as the world building is spectacular.
“Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of
this book - all opinions are my own.”
The Beginning Woods By Malcolm McNeill