The Wild Folk
By Sylvia V Linsteadt
416pp, £6.99, paperback
Sylvia Linsteadt takes the reader on a magical quest with two young hares, an orphan boy besotted with inventing, and an inquisitive country girl, who all band together to stop a dystopian city decimating the “Country” beyond its walls. The adventure resembles a Tolkien folklore, as the quartet face challenges, set by Country inhabitants the Wild Folk, to discover who holds the secret to saving their world.
Tin has grown up in the bleak Fifth Cloister of Grace and Progress, taught propaganda by the sinister Brothers that the world outside the city walls is dangerous, and that it’s blasphemous to even speak of the “contaminated” animal and insect kingdom. Country-girl Comfrey has had an equally difficult start to life, learning to survive from an early age on a meagre diet and sustained by the family crops. They both bring a brave and determined resilience to safeguard the future of the Country, meeting a miniscule ant and grumpy witch along the way.
Readers of Philip Pullman, CS Lewis or Ursula Le Guin will love this enchanting legend. This first instalment in The Stargold Chronicles tackles a topical issue about how industrialised societies need to live in harmony with nature, limit their greedy and destructive tendencies, and instead start valuing the fragility of the natural world.
Liz Dickinson is a higher-level teaching assistant at Rawlins Academy in Loughborough, and a freelance writer of poetry and prose
Pupil reviews: Plenty of smiles for countryphiles
‘Boring start but a great story that needs a trilogy’
When I started The Wild Folk, it was quite boring and confusing, owing to how it swapped viewpoints. However, from the moment the Fiddleback started to work until the end of the book, it was a rollercoaster of adventure.
I love the sense of mystery, carried throughout the book, being displayed in lots of different scenarios. Like when Mallow and Myrtle are dropped and the coyote-folk take the Fiddleback – you have absolutely no idea who they are or what has happened.
When you first encounter Thornton, you have a small little voice in the back of your head saying it is Comfrey’s dad, but until a little later in the story, it does not become clear.
It’s very sad when Seb leaves Tin, but it adds a lovely atmosphere to the plot.
In conclusion, it had a boring start, a great storyline, and needs at least a trilogy after it.
If Ms Linsteadt wrote another book, the reviewers would totally read it.
Grace Furie, aged 11
‘This great novel is bound to make you laugh’
The Wild Folk is a unique, imaginative and exceedingly gripping book, despite a slightly dull beginning.
In this fabulous tale, you can take a journey through Olima (the magical land in which it is set) with the four main characters: Mallow, Myrtle, Comfrey and Tin. All of these characters are distinctive and original.
This great novel is bound to make you laugh and enjoy the time you have reading it.
My favourite bit about this great book is the descriptive prose. Ms Linsteadt has done a truly amazing job to put her ideas in a gripping way that is just perfect for the story. Honestly, I would recommend this book to all my friends, as it includes a bunch of different genres, which makes it suitable for anybody.
If I had to rate this excellent book, I would definitely give it a well-earned 9.5/10! The only reason I have marked it down is because nothing is perfect – however, The Wild Folk has come very close.
Beatriz Weightman, aged 11
‘Not for those who give up on a book easily’
I think The Wild Folk was really interesting and enjoyable, but I thought it took a couple of chapters to get into.
For me, it got interesting after he finishes the Fiddleback spider and has to run away, so I think it would be better if something happened earlier on that made it a bit more exciting.
Other than that, I thought that it was a good book and I enjoyed the idea of the world being made by an elk, a bobcat, and a spider.
I would have liked if there had been more mention of the green twins than part of a chapter while they were looking after the leverets.
Also, I would have liked a bit more of an insight of the lives of normal people in the city, as I found it hard to imagine what the lives of normal people were like.
I would recommend The Wild Folk to people who like reading about fictional worlds and don’t mind it if it gets a bit strange and you have to think a bit about what is happening. However, if you are the sort of person who gives up on a book easily and likes to be able to understand what is going on, I don’t think this is the book for you.
My overall impression of it was that it was interesting and a good read. Ms Linsteadt, you should definitely write a sequel – I would be one of the first to read it!
Amy Yates, aged 12
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