I finished Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood today. I’m still trying to decide if I liked it or not.
The premise is that the titular wood is the home to creatures of myth, but that these creatures are created out of a kind of race-memory of people. So for instance if enough people truly believe in Bigfoot, Bigfoot would be found in this wood.
It was an interesting premise but it made it all feel kind of artificial. Like it was one huge delusion. And the fact that the protagonist took everything pretty much in stride when he learned about what was happening in the wood made it all feel even more so. There was very little time spent on disbelief and coming to grips with what was going on. “Ah, so Robin Hood and King Arthur’s Knights and some kind of proto-druid tribe all live in the 6 mile stretch of woods? OK, I’ll buy that. Let’s go explore it!” Umm…?
If you can set those two facts aside, then it was a really enjoyable book. What added a nice layer to the whole story was that ‘present day’ for the protagonist was 1948 or thereabouts. Shortly after the war, in any case. So even the non-fantastical portions of the book had an air of ‘other-worldliness’ to those of us too young to have lived through that time.
I guess I can best sum it up this way. I liked it enough to add the next book in the series (Lavondyss) to my Amazon wishlist, but I’m not going to run around raving about the book. On a scale of 1-5 I’d give it a 3 or a 4. Holdstock’s voice is what makes it worth reading. I’m hoping the next book has just a tad more polish. If it does, it should be truly great.