Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Teen
Expected Publication: October 21, 2014
It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.
Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.
What I really liked about Beware the Wild was how smartly the Author unraveled the story. It was quite like Hansel and Gretel following those breadcrumbs in the hope they would find their way home safely and yet, the story embodied many elements of a classic whodunit just with a paranormal twist. I'm gonna admit I did find that it was a bit frustrating at first because I really wanted the story to move along quicker but once I really got into the meat of the story I found it's pacing and style of writing quite enjoyable.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the story was the character Lenora May. I kept expecting this big twist to reveal that she was some enchantress in disguise who devours all those who walk into the swamp. Her real reason for existing however is far more simplistic and tragic. Honestly, I really felt bad for her and all she lost because of the swamp.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the ending. OK, sure, it might have been a bit predictable. However, that didn't make it any less enjoyable. It might be a “Happy” ending for all intents and purposes but also it's made abundantly clear that deep sorrow still exists for the characters and their lives will forever be affected by the events that took place.
Now although I really enjoyed Beware the Wild I did have a few small grievances with the story that ultimately kept me from rating it higher.
First off, I really didn't enjoy Heath and Sterling as a couple for the majority of the story. They just didn't feel compatible and I wasn't buying the romance blossoming between them. I think I would of preferred them to remain just reconnecting as friends instead.
Secondly, I wish we had some knowledge how far reaching the swamps glamor reached. Was it just the townsfolk who forgot about the lost citizens or did everyone they every come in contact with (even if say they lived across the globe) forget them??
However, I think my biggest issue with the story was Sterling's attitude toward Lenora May. OK, I get it, she just shows up taking your brothers place and nobody but you realizes they don't belong. I don't deny that would mess with your head some but c'mon at least talk to the girl before throwing her under the bus. Once Sterling receives (very conveniently timed) information that Lenora May is evil she just readily accepts it without considering the possible ulterior motives behind the person proclaiming it in the first place. If Sterling had just put her hatred of Lenora May aside for one moment things would've went much simpler for her and possibly saved a life that ought not have been lost in the process.
If you like mysteries with a twist then you're going to love Beware the Wild. I highly recommend picking this one up and giving it a try. Although Beware the Wild does start off a bit slow once things get moving along you'll find yourself glued to the page not wanting to put it down. With that being said, I'll be rating Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker ★★★★.
*Copy reviewed provided by edelweiss. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any which way for providing them.
About the Author
Natalie C Parker grew up in a Navy family where having adventures was as common as reading fairy tales.
She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in English, then went on to earn her MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Continuing her efforts as a lifelong scholar, she currently works on a project studying climate change at the University of Kansas where she eavesdrops on the conversations of brilliant scientists gathering fodder for future novels.
Though still baffled by having ended up in a landlocked state, she lives in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters.
You can contact Natalie online @ http://nataliecparker.com/