Book Review: Beware The Wild

This was one of those things where you have that friend that has the book, and you think of this fact at just the right moment…which is right in time to snatch it from the library.

And then after, you’re really, really glad you did.

…And you grab another semi-related one to go with it. Just. You know. To keep the theme going for a bit.

In other words, this book was amazing, and I always forget how much I like Southern Gothic.

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Beware The Wild

  • Author: Natalie C. Parker
  • Publisher: Harper Teen
  • Shelved in: Technically it’s still on the “new” shelf, but I think it’ll probably end up in the Fantasy/Adventure aisle.
  • Genre vibe: Southern Gothic.
  • At a Glance: The swamp in Sticks, Louisiana is not like other swamps. It is at first glance, and people wish it really was, and it’s scary and icky and sometimes it eats people. Then it eats Sterling’s brother, and well, after that more bad things happen. Like a swamp girl showing up to replace Missing Brother.

The Good Stuff

Honestly, this book is beautiful.

When you first arrive, you’re immediately given strange happenings. What is wrong? Phineas, Sterling’s beloved brother, has run off into the swamp (of all places) and has not returned.

Standard, right?

WRONG, cries Sterling. But her momma says come on Sterling, you and your sister need to wash up for dinner.

…Sister?

Sterling does not have a sister. Sterling knows this.

But everyone else thinks otherwise. To every other person in Sticks, Lenora May has always been Sterling’s sister.

Every other person, that is, except Heath Durham.

See the setup? Missing brother, missing memories, magic, a hungry swamp, Mr. Guarded-and-Handsome…

It’s like a list of all my favorite things just waiting to be mixed together into something thick and soupy and wonderful. And that is exactly what Beware The Wild did.

To top it all off, the narrative was incredible. Writing-style-wise, I have something else to say. But Sterling’s voice was probably one of my favorite parts about this book. I don’t normally take to a first-person-POV female narrative except for in this kind of genre, but Sterling even went above and beyond. I loved her as much as I loved Heath, maybe even a little more. That’s kind of rare.

The pacing was bumpy and strange just like it ought to be. I loved it.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

While the narration from Sterling was incredible, the voice from the author was a little bit…well, dusty. It got the atmosphere across, but it told me to go there instead of taking me there.

Possibly this is just because I like my Southern Gothic atmospheres to be ridiculously saturated. But it also made the book as a whole a little less memorable than it could have been, and so it’s something that I definitely wanted more of the whole time I read it.

Overall

  • Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended to: Fans of a good Southern Gothic, but won’t be upset if the atmosphere is a little lacking. People who enjoy really good character chemistry and really cool magic.
  • Lasting impression: Poetry about the love of a brother, the pressure of a too-hot summer day.
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