Rowan of the Woods

Christine Rose & Ethan Rose

Review by A. E. Jaskiewicz

Rowan of the Woods is a fanciful and intriguing book about love, loss, magic and a centuries old quest.  With a likeable group of heroes, and a set of villains that you can actually feel sorry for at points, they take you on a mystical tale that spans fourteen centuries and leads to the twenty-first century where a misfit boy has to take on an enormous responsibility.

The story of Rowan of the woods mainly follows a young boy named Cullen.  We learn early on that a tragedy occurred in Cullen’s life which led him to be an orphan.  That is how he came to live with his unsympathetic foster family, the Samuels.  Cullen has few escapes from his sorry new life.  One of the few he has is walking through the Redwood Forest on his way to school every day.  On his birthday, Halloween, Cullen has something strange happen to him in the woods, and suddenly, his new friend, Rowan, is living in his body.  Rowan had been trapped in a magic wand for fourteen hundred years, and now he is hoping to find his only love, Fiana, who he was separated from on their wedding day.  The major problem, though, is that Fiana has become evil throughout her fourteen century quest for Rowan.  If Rowan and Cullen are able to find his bride, will she still be the woman he once loved?

The story is primarily told through two points of view.  First, there is Cullen/Rowan.  For most of the book, they exist as the same character, or at least they share the same body.  Through the point of Cullen, we see a tormented young boy who is teased by kids in school, and not loved by his foster family.  Through it all, he remains a good yet shy young boy.  He does have a few sympathetic people to turn to, though.  He has Ms. MacFey, his favorite teacher, and his best friends, Maddy and April.  These characters serve the purpose they were intended for, and they serve it well.  They are the only release for the young Cullen.  The other character we see much from her point of view of Fiana.  We see the torture and pain she must endure while looking for her beloved Rowan, and we get a great understanding of how she has become the evil entity she now is.  Her only true and faithful companion throughout the story is Marlin, who is a magical figure much like herself.

While the story is full of intrigue and mystery, there are certain things in the story which never seem to be fully explained.  One of the major things is what really happened to Cullen’s family.  We learn that his Father and Sister died in a house fire, and that his Mother went crazy shortly after that, but that is the greatest extent we learn about that.  Also, we see a glimpse of why Mrs. Samuels is so bitter and depressed, but we learn little about Mr. Samuels or their biological son, Rex.  These are just two of several instances where we see a little bit of why certain things are the way they are, but they never feel fully explained, and could leave the reader wondering about a couple of loose ends.

Overall, I would say that Rowan of the Woods is a fun and exciting book for teens.  It will definitely keep them interested until the end.  It offers a glimpse of the difference between good and evil, and how people could end up being either way.

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