Published: December 3, 2019
Publisher: DAW Books
Pages: 320 (Paperback)
My Rating: 2.5/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In this new historical fantasy, a young man must use the power granted by a goddess to infiltrate the realm of Faery and save a kidnapped victim before the door is sealed once again.
Orphaned when still a toddler, Nicholas Withybeck knows no other home than Locksley Abbey outside Nottingham, England. He works in the scriptorium embellishing illuminated manuscripts with hidden faces of the Wild Folk and whimsical creatures that he sees every time he ventures into the woods and fields. His curiosity leads him into forbidden nooks and crannies both inside and outside the abbey, and he becomes adept at hiding to stay out of trouble.
On one of these forays Nick slips into the crypt beneath the abbey. There he finds an altar older than the abbey’s foundations, ancient when the Romans occupied England. Behind the bricks around the altar, he finds a palm-sized silver cup. The cup is embellished with the three figures of Elena, the Celtic goddess of crossroads, sorcery, and cemeteries.
He carries the cup with him always, listening as the goddess whispers wisdom in the back of his mind. With Elena’s cup in his pocket, Nick can see that the masked dancers at the May Day celebration in the local village are actually the creatures of the wood: The Green Man—known to mortals as Little John—and Robin Goodfellow, Herne the Huntsman, dryads, trolls, and water sprites. Theirs are the faces he’s seen and drawn into his illuminations.
Guided by Elena along secret forest paths, Nick learns that Little John’s love has been kidnapped by Queen Mab of the Faeries. The door to the Faery mound will only open when the moons of the two realms align. That time is fast approaching. Nick must release Elena so that she can use sorcery to unlock that door, allowing Nick’s band of friends to try to rescue the girl. Will he have the courage to release her as his predecessor did not?
I love all things wild and fae in my books and Walk the Wild With Me managed to snag my interest because it mentioned the the Green Man and the infiltration of Faery. Alas, while the synopsis promised adventure I was left somewhat wanting. What little adventure this book contained managed to somehow still be dull, though I so wanted to enjoy it!
Nicholas Withybeck lives and works in Locksley Abbey in Nottingham but he’s still young and seeks adventure outside the walls and he also happens to have a bit of Wild Folk blood. He and a couple other Abbey boys sneak out to the village and to visit one of the boys’ sisters in a nearby convent, all while trying to get enough sleep to make it through their prayers and chores. Nicholas comes across a cup containing a bit of the goddess Elena and he must use this cup to save the love of Little John, who also happens to be the Green Man. John’s love was taken by the Queen of Faery and the gate can only be opened once every 50 years and the time approaches once again.
Even from what I’ve typed up as a summary, this sounds like a book I would enjoy. However it just fell flat and I found myself looking forward to the end in hopes that somewhere the pace would pick up! I wasn’t invested in any of the characters and even when deaths occurred, I just didn’t care that much. The magic and the setting were both somewhat lackluster and the most pizazz the book had was when some of the characters found themselves running from a wild boar.