Darkwood is a sweet little gem of a fantasy--unassuming and a bit modest. Howland is a land of abrupt nightfall, where kinderstalk--giant, menacing wolves--prowl the surrounding woods. When eleven-year-old Annie overhears her uncle's plan to sell her away, she runs away instead, but ends up falling into the hands of a nasty slave trader named Chopper, the same fellow her uncle was planning to sell her to. He takes her to the Drop, a horrible place where both children and grown men are enslaved and forced to chip away at the cliffs, gathering precious ringstone.
Annie discovers a strange ability to see in the dark, which enables her to escape and make her way to the capitol, where she intends to inform the king of the nasty goings-on at the Drop. Along the way, she experiences sightings of kinderstalk and has strange feelings of kinship with them. When she reaches the capitol, she manages to sneak onto the palace grounds and warn the royal inhabitants that the kinderstalk are gathering. Then, she passes out.
When Annie awakens, she discovers something she thought she'd lost forever and reveals a plot to overthrow the king. But there is an even greater danger ahead--a danger that will affect a people Annie never knew she'd lost and that will cause her to meet a destiny she never knew existed.
Like I said, Darkwood is a nice little fantasy novel. It is not life-changing or mind-blowing. It's not a Hunger Games or Maze Runner. Still, it is a pleasant way to spend a few days, enjoying a good book. I think the reason it is not compelling is because the heroine is only eleven, so it's hard to make the plot too intense. After all, it's intended for middle school kids. In any case, there is a suggestion there may be sequels--a prophecy indicates Annie has a greater destiny ahead--so maybe we will be able to watch both our little heroine and the novel's depth grow as well.
Word and Book Lover.