Book Review: Through the Wildwood by M.R. Mathias
Through the Wildwood by M. R. Mathias
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on March 13th 2013 
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 256 

A half-zythian bard named Vanx is in slave chains for bedding the Duchess of Highlake. The Duke wants him dead. This is bad news, for bad things can happen to an ill guarded slave caravan in the mountains. When the duke’s men attack to kill the adulterous prisoner, all hell breaks loose, leaving Vanx only one way to go… Through the Wildwood.

After reading the Wardstone trilogy and loving the grand sweeping adventure, I was hesitant to start the Vanx Malic series because I had seen the length of the novels and they seemed suspiciously lacking. I honestly believed there was no way Mathias could conjure up a story as good as Wardstone with such teeny tiny novels. ‘They’ll be underdeveloped, I’ll be annoyed’ was my general train of thought.

However, after I finally relented and read a few chapters, the look of glee could not be taken off my face.

Nope, it’s not Wardstone, it’s bloody Vanx Malic, and I couldn’t be happier with that. Sure, it took me a while to actually like him, or any of the characters to be honest, but once the wildwoods come in to focus, the whole rag tag bunch became my new best friends for a few hours. And I am definitely getting myself a haulkatten to ride to the supermarket… Those cheap pot noodles will be all mine farg it, grubby hand off!

There are some oddities in the narrative (how does he know the beer in the inn has no smell when he is riding in a cart?) and sometimes the phrasing is slightly off kilter with what I believe is just some under cooked editing. Overall though, that kind of thing can be pretty much ignored when the story is just so adventurous, the characters so engaging and the whole thing just so damned fun! I felt like an adult kid for the duration. Woods, check! Grubby city, Check! Sailing scene, check! Dungeon, check! Underground tunnels, check! Perfection.

And now I ashamed I was so negative about the length (I am a bit of a page count snob!), because it was perfect for this sort of romp. It just snapped of the screen in rapid fire, and the short format just adds to that feeling of ‘holy crap, that just happened!’

This is definitely going to be a fun ride to be delved into when I need a bit of levity in life. I think I need some more levity right now actually.. Oh look, Dragon Isle just appeared on my reader! How fortuitous!