Fairy tales are hot right now. If you don’t think so, check out your TV menu, which is full of Once Upon a Time, Grimm and movies like Snow White and the Huntsman.
The Woodcutter, by Kate Danley, tells the story of, well, the Woodcutter, who is the steward of the forest. It’s his job to keep the balance in their world, meting out justice, as needed. He continually encounters familiar characters from other fairy tales and legends.
The Woodcutter has a very interesting premise, and at times the story is pretty engrossing. At the end, the action picks up and keeps you invested in the outcome. But until that point, you mind find yourself skimming ahead because you don’t quite care about what’s happening.
I wanted more from the characters in The Woodcutter. The Woodcutter, himself, is fairly one-dimensional. There’s a lot we never find out about him. Just holding back details about a character doesn’t necessarily make him more mysterious, just flat.
Lots of recognizable characters pop in and out of the story, including a few who aren’t strictly from fairy tales. Oberon and Titania, fairies, are a big deal in this book. They’re not necessarily friendly fairies. So if you’re a fan of fairy tales and legends, you might get excited each time someone has a cameo.
The overall mystery is somewhat interesting, but easily forgettable. As quick reads go, it’s written well enough. I’ve certainly read books that are much, much worse. But The Woodcutter is good enough that I wanted more, and I never got it.
A review on The Arched Doorway blog says, “There’s no investment in the plot or characters, nothing that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you hope it’ll all be okay.” But the review on the blog Books Take You Places says, “[Kate Danley] is a master at words and I found myself reading and re-reading many lines throughout. I highly recommend The Woodcutter to those of you looking for an enthralling and lovely read.”