In Sarah Beth Durst’s version of “once upon a time,” all fabled beings live in a storyland prison of sorts known as The Wild. There they are forced to live their story from start to finish – never straying from the script – only to begin again as soon as they reach their “happily ever after” (or in some cases, their horrible demise). The evil witch is always the evil witch, the damsel in distress is always in distress. No growth, no change, no new, no choice.
What I liked so much about Durst’s first book in this series – Into the Wild – is that it intelligently discussed the problem with living the same story over and over, and how each of us needs to write our *own* story and change endings when needs be. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a book of Big Thinking in the way that War and Peace might be, but I could still smell the meat in the thick of the plot.
But this sequel, Out of the Wild, left me very disappointed. The storyline was all over the place, and it felt like situations were created adlib from page to page just to keep the story moving. I couldn’t get behind WHY some of the characters were acting the way they were, and what the ultimate point of the action was in terms of a larger meaning. A sort of “and I care because…?” left hanging in the air.
I feel like perhaps the first book ought to have been expanded quite a bit, eliminating the need for this second one. I’m not sure what the plans are for any more books in this series, but I do hope in the event Durst continues to write about The Wild, she revisit some of the depths she reached in her debut.
*Disclosure: Affiliate links included.