November 2, 2017

The Mordeshoor's Tale • Whichwood

Whichwood book coverI've mentioned a time or two on my blog that I really enjoy fantastical middle grade reads - and Whichwood is yet another novel that I'm adding to my constantly growing collection. A companion of sorts to Tahereh Mafi's middle grade debut Furthermore, Whichwood is the story of Laylee, who is the sole mordeshoor of Whichwood and spends her days washing dead bodies and preparing them for the afterlife. Having lost her mother to death and her father to grief, Laylee lives in solitude, brushing aside the way that her life and light are slowly being sapped by her circumstances. When two familiar faces show up, her world is turned upside down - for the better.

Whichwood was such a delight! The tale is similar in levels of whimsy to its predecessor, with Mafi effortlessly weaving in the mordeshoor lore and the magic. I was spellbound from start to finish, fascinated by the way the story unfolded from chapter to chapter, and how the magical system of this portion of the world in these stories worked. It was also a real treat to be reunited with Alice and Oliver, whose friendship remains fierce and who are still really great characters to follow.

But what really reeled me in was the sheer emotion of the characters, especially main character Laylee. There was something entirely raw about the honesty with which Mafi portrays Laylee's emotional journey, and it resonated deeply with me as a reader and as someone who has experienced a similar array of emotions (though for decidedly different situations). Her loneliness, her determination, her fear, her sorrow - all of it was heartbreaking, to say the least. But when she opens herself up to spontaneity, to friendship, to people who want to be there for her and come to her aid, well, it's heart-warming and I loved every second of it.

While I certainly enjoyed Furthermore last year and would also recommend that one, I think Whichwood is my favorite of Mafi's middle grade so far. There's something special about this story, and the way that it evokes a real response in the reader -- even while it endeavors to entertain. It's whimsical, it's wonderful and I would highly recommend snagging a copy for yourself when it comes out!

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi | Series: Furthermore
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Source: ARC received at BEA 2017 (Thanks!)


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