I rated Kristen Circcarelli’s “Edgewood” a 4.9/5 stars. The only reason this new adult fantasy lost .1 was because of the italicized internal thoughts that jumped tenses and were confusing when compared to “other” voices also being in italics. I believe this is a standalone but would definitely read more of her work since the prose were absolutely delicious and dark. I could smell those creepy woody smells in each page.
In the first chapter, Emeline’s story reminded me of a combination between This Poison Heart, House of Hollow, and The Dark Part of the Forest. I love that our heroine’s singing voice makes the forest call out to her with creeping vines and scuttling beetles that maybe only she can see. And who is the mysterious stranger who stole her water bottle? Is the tall handsome man friend or foe?
In chapter 2 we learn of the fantastic rules in this modern-feeling world involving a wood king who requires tithes. Urgency has already been created since her grandfather with dementia has disappeared from the nursing home.
In chapter five we meet a shadow skin, in chapter six: a pack of ember mares and in chapter eight: a shifter. I love these creatures and the talking trees. I’m wondering if the voices she hears are metaphorical for the vibe or literal. Then I’m chapter nine we meet a Bog creature from the mud who sucks blood for payment of passage through the entrance into the city. This author is super creative.
In chapter 12 we learn of the Song Mage and then in 13 we hear about the curse and are introduced to Claw, who can see the past and future. “Whatever you do, don’t make any deals with him…” excellent!! The only thing I’m not enjoying are the internal thoughts in italics, because some are her thoughts, some are the dragon speaking through her mind, some are the forest speaking telepathically. It’s a bit confusing and inconsistent.
In chapter 22 I need to reiterate how much I love this world. Nettle spiked drinks with unique spells, the Stain, and now the Vile- a wicked witch haunting an old house where of course Emeline needs to go next!
Ahh yes, the ‘pushing a loved one away to protect them’ trope.
“Songs were never just songs. They were capsules, each one containing a moment trapped inside.”
Chapter 44 starts with “five months later” what?!?! No!?!
I’m 90% satisfied with the ending. No spoilers.
Sidenote: thank you for Grace and Sable’s LGBTQ+ relationship representation as side characters.