Not A (structured) Review
aka: I read a thing.
Tobias is a Wild Man of the Wood. Henry Silver is the new lord of the manor. When the two meet, magic happens.
I just finished reading this little gem. On my Kobo, at my preferred font size, Silver in the Wood clocked in at a whopping 82 pages, which gave me hope that I’d actually be able to finish it in a timely manner. I’ve been having some difficulty settling my brain and getting into my reading lately, so discovering that the story that’s been making little ripples in my twitter stream wasn’t a full-size novel was actually refreshing.
(I’m also ramping up to do some reading for the Aurora Awards, so this is helping me ease into it. Huzzah.)
The concept of the Green Man of the Woods isn’t a new one. I think that any kid raised on fairy tales recognizes the Grimm atmosphere of dense woods, trees with a mind of their own, and uncanny forest-dwellers. Archetypes run the gamut from Hearne to Treebeard; I suspect that as long as there have been trees, someone has looked for their spirit.
Tobias has been around for at least 400 years. His memories are hazy, but that’s the count he’s sticking to. He’s happy taking care of his woods, his cat, and his dryad friends. Henry Silver, the new owner of Greenhollow Hall, is fascinated with his new home and the legends surrounding the area. Green as a young sapling, he’s enthusiastic to learn, and quickly manages to attach himself to the older, wiser man. It’s an attraction with consequences, evoking the changing of the seasons and the pagan rebirth of the old god.
Folk fantasy has had a huge boost in the past handful of years with works such as Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver and Thomas Olde Heuveldt’s Hex. Silver in the Wood seems to sit solidly between the two, with a sweet romance that, more than once, reminded me of C. L. Polk’s Witchmark. It’s not really a fairy tale, but it’s not overt horror. At least not at first. If you enjoyed Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, this might be right up your alley.
TL;DR A new take on the story of the Green Man of the Woods is explored in this short novella reminiscent of C.L. Polk's Witchmark.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
Published by Tor.com
Amazon | Kobo
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