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Reviews for Into the Woods

by R.R. Smythe


Into the Woods has a rich tapestry quality that is found in old fairy tales. The words and rhythm give it the feel of a fable. The tale hints at what is to come, but never gives you a true look, rather like the inhabitants of the woods luring you into the woods before you’re aware you moved. Having the mother who is encased in roots have a voice is a nice touch. It allows us to see what is going on in her world and to understand what Callum will need to do to save her. The tale is a complicated one, but any eager reader should be able to unravel it.

Into the Woods is an interesting and exciting tale for the intermediate reader. I would recommend it because it operates on many different levels, includes the richness of imagery and fully developed characters.

Reviewed by Morgan Wyatt
October 3, 2007
from novelspot

See.  Stand.  Choose.  Remember.  Only these four words glowing on closet doors throughout the village of Sureau lend any clue as to the mysterious sleep that plagues many of the village residents.  Callum, Erlidih, Finlay, and Skye are friends and students at the Alexander School but they share a new bond now.  Each has a parent trapped in a sort of stasis, surrounded by coffins formed by trees and vines.  Will Callum decipher the clues in time to save his mother, Ellsbeth, or will the roots and vines overtake her and the other sleepers forever?

What a delightfully eerie tale!  R.R. Smythe creates very vivid images, both of the Netherwood and of the root sarcophaguses encasing the sleepers. One can’t help but give a little shiver of fear as Callum and his cohorts race to uncover the meaning of each clue.  Seeing the Netherwood through Ellsbeth’s eyes is a stroke of genius by R.R. Smythe as it adds just the right touch to make this one a classic tale!

INTO THE WOODS evokes an almost haunting atmosphere, as the reader is pulled into the storyline.  While INTO THE WOODS is billed as a tale for young adults, adult readers will enjoy the darker fairytale-like aspects of the storyline.  R.R. Smythe’s explanation for each clue is quite clever and the deeper meanings will resonate with adult readers as well as young adults. 

INTO THE WOODS is yet another phenomenal offering from Highland Press.  R.R. Smythe kickstarts their first ever young adult story with a bang.  INTO THE WOODS is a definite hit by this stunning author!

Reviewed by Debbie

INTO THE WOODS packs a big message into a short book. R.R. Smythe had me intrigued from the very beginning. Just like the young men and women in the story, I wanted to learn the secret of the trees. They were obviously there for a reason, but what could it be? I flew through this book in just a couple of hours because I just had to know if Callum would figure it all out to save his mother. The scenes in the Netherwood are particularly interesting. You never know just what is going to happen, but you're sure there's going to be a message hidden somewhere.

Callum and his friends were all wonderful. They were indeed the perfect people to pass on the message of the trees. I love the sweetness of young love surrounding them as well.

INTO THE WOODS really is a unique story with a lot of heart. It's great for all ages, so check it out and tell your friends.

Reviewed at Romance Junkies....4.5 stars

This Young Adult Fantasy will send chills down your spine. I, as the reader, followed Callum and witnessed everything he and his friends went through as they attempted to decipher the messages. At the same time, I watched Callum's mother, Ellsbeth, as she walked through the Netherwood. Each time Callum deciphered one of the four messages, some villagers awakened. Through the eyes of Ellsbeth, I saw the other sleepers wander, make mistakes, and be released from the Netherwood, leaving Ellsbeth alone. There is one thread left dangling, but do not fret. This IS a stand alone book. But that thread gives me hope that another book about the Netherwoods may someday come to pass. Excellent reading for any age of fantasy fans!


4 stars****
Highland Press launches its Young Adult line with a page turning read.  Ms. Smythe has a wonderful imagination and demonstrates it with this spin chilling read.   Her descriptive writing will put the reader alongside Callum and his friends. This is a read that will appeal to young adults.  It's imaginative and will encourage kids to read-a very good thing. This is a story I have no trouble recommending.

Kristi Ahlers

"With the eerie lyricism of M. Night Shyamalan, and a pinch of J.K Rowling, R.R. Smythe is the next 'big thing' waiting to happen. She offers a turn of the century horror-suspense that will easily capture the Young Adult audience with the tale that is both original and imaginative. While waiting for Harry Potter's swan song, discover a new voice, a new talent that shines."

 Deborah MacGillivray- author of A Restless Knight
and The Invasion of Falgannon Isle

"R.R. Smythe delivers a superb web of fantasy and mystery in this horror-filled coming-of-age tale set in the nineteenth century that is sure to capture the imagination of today's young adults."

Michele Ann Young- Regency author.

Rating: 4 Cups

Callum McClure is a young man in his teens living with his mother and grandfather, Pa John in a small town in Scotland during 1860. Callum goes to a school for gifted young adults, with three of his friends. All are good kids and work hard to keep their grades up.

Callum's mother is under a spell where the roots are making a coffin over her body as she lays in a deep sleep. Slowly there are lots of people going into a deep sleep, and with the help of his friends, Erlidih, Finley and Skye, Callum is bound and determined to find a way to bring his mom back.

Callum is given a book about The Power of the trees. When the trees are unhappy with humankind because of their ways, the trees slowly devour the humans. But why Callum's mom? She was a God fearing lady who has done nothing but good. With four words as a clue, they only have a small amount of time to find the answer to this or Callum's mom and the rest of the human race could be at an end.

What a beautifully inspiring story. This tale takes you back into time and to a place where curses and folklore were well known. From curses to centaurs, this story is full of excitement and adventures. This author touches on what humans are doing to themselves and shows our children what could happen if they do not abide by rules. A truly remarkable story.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Incredible story by a debut author!

One look at the beautiful but eerie trees with eyes on the book cover tell you that you're in for quite a ride, and the author certainly doesn't disappoint! Callum McClure's mother is in a deep sleep, imprisoned on her bed by vines. She's dying and he doesn't know what to do to help, but he suspects some magic is in the air.

Ellsbeth McClure only appears to be asleep. Actually, she's in a nightmare, escaping from trees, sharks, all manner of spooking things that want to eat her. She's hurt, bleeding, and starving. If only she can hang on until Callum finds the answer to her plight.

Into the Woods is a fairytale, really, because it has a strong message wrapped in a riveting, wonderful story. If you like mystery, thrills, adventure, magic, and romance, you'll find it in this wonderful Young Adult novel. I highly recommend this book to readers of any age. You won't be sorry you bought it!

Jacquie Rogers http://www.JacquieRogers.com
2006 PEARL Award nominee for Best Short Story and Best Anthology
Faery Special Romances (May 2007)




Copyright 2008 Leanne Burroughs