Sunday, November 14, 2010

Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig

Amazon Product Description
When Samuel and Martha are sent to Norway to live with their Aunt Edna after their parents' deaths, they soon learn her most important rule: NEVER-UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES-GO INTO THE FOREST. She doesn't offer an explanation, but Samuel suspects it might have something to do with a strange guidebook he finds in her attic: The Creatures of Shadow Forest. And when Martha wanders into the trees and is captured by some of the creatures described in the book, Samuel has no choice but to go in after her. What he finds there is an eerie world populated by trolls, truth pixies and other fantastical creatures.

I have to say I loved the narrator for this audio book. Simon Vance does an excellent job of bringing each character to life. He has a wonderful accent that draws the listener into the story.  Yet, I must say that at first I had a hard time with the story. I found it hard to like Samuel in the beginning. He was not a very likeable character. Granted he has just lost his parents in a terrible car accident. He has a right to be angry at the world. However, he seemed to be that way before the car accident.  The charm of this story is that Samuel’s character grows. He becomes concerned about something other than himself and eventually, the anger falls away to reveal a rather likeable young boy.  The subject matter is a little scary. Haig is an excellent story teller and tells a truly scary and somewhat gruesome story. Shadow Forest is a dark and scary place.  Yet the reader/listener can’t help but feel sympathetic toward all the characters that have been forced to give up their good natures to become as evil as the “Change Maker.”  However, I would not recommend this story for the very young.  It is perhaps a little too dark and scary.

Recommended for 3rd Grade and up.

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