(Wing and Claw trilogy, Book 1)
illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
HarperCollins, March 1, 2016
352 pages, ages 8-12
Raffa Santana has always loved the mysterious Forest of Wonders. For a gifted young apothecary like him, every leaf could unleash a kind of magic. When an injured bat crashes into his life, Raffa invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the Forest. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences. Raffa’s experiments lead him away from home to the forbidding city of Gilden, where troubling discoveries make him question whether exciting botanical inventions—including his own—might actually threaten the very creatures of the Forest he wants to protect.
The first book in a trilogy, Forest of Wonders richly explores the links between magic and botany, family and duty, environment and home.
"The measured pace builds to a cliffhanging climax as Raffa balances family loyalties, compelling ethical dilemmas, and his role as an apothecary, all at a level completely accessible to the audience…. With its engaging hero, talking animals, arcane magic, moral issues, and unresolved plot, this first of a proposed trilogy promises more exciting forest wonders." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review (Read the full review.)
"...an enchanting new fantasy trilogy." —BookPage (Read the full review.)
“The story is written with skill and well paced. The real beauty in Park’s work lies in the relationship she creates between Raffa and Echo the bat. The story contains some high-intensity action scenes that will hook readers. The world-building is intensive; there is clearly a multilayered history and culture underlying the richly detailed setting. This story would be great as a way to create some interest and engagement with students studying chemistry or earth science.” —Chad Lane, Tulip Grove Elementary School, MD, School Library Journal (Read the full review.)
“At first glance, Park’s latest work appears to be a total departure. When I received my copy of Forest of Wonders, I thought, now this is my kind of book: an action-packed escapist fantasy that will tax my brain not at all. Alas, I underestimated the author. It is a fantasy novel, yes, but it is also a provocative moral tale about the relationship between humans and animals. An Aesop’s fable turned inside out.” —Pseudonymous Bosch, The New York Times (Read the full review.)
"Readers who like the action and adventure in classic high fantasy like Alexander's Book of Three, Jacques' Redwall series, or Prineas' The Magic Thief will find that Forest of Wonders, with its appealing animal companions and satisfying dose of magic, is a pleasant yet exciting place to spend an afternoon." —YA Books Central
"There’s no shortage of action or ethical dilemmas in this endearing tale, first in Park’s (A Long Walk to Water) Wing & Claw trilogy. . . . As in life, the choices are never black and white as Park’s realistically flawed characters struggle between looking out for the greater good or for themselves."—Publishers Weekly
"Young fantasy enthusiasts should find plenty here to satisfy their need for both wonder and drama. . . . While the adorable talking animals will win hearts, the complex ethical dilemmas Raffa faces about how to use (or not use) his talents lend a maturity to the narrative. Still, Park's choice of simple diction always keeps the story accessible. ” —Shelf Awareness (Read the fulll review.)
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