Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi
Whichwood is just a middle grade novel, so I’m hesitant being too harsh on it. Still, it pales in comparison to the first book, and I didn’t even like the first book very much, to be honest.
If you’re just judging a book by its cover, this one is stunning. I really love it. I like the Persian influences and the mordeshoor concept itself, but I wanted to understand more about Whichwood as a whole, the way I felt I understand Furthermore and Ferenwood. Also this is random, but I think it would have been really nice to get a note from the author about the original Persian culture that the book was drawn from. I don’t wanna walk around thinking that all of these fictional elements are true, or even thinking they’re not when they are.
Still, I liked all of the characters individually: Laylee and Benyamin were both realistic, fleshed-out, and unique. On the other hand, Alice and Oliver borrow some of their greatness from the first book, and don’t get a lot of development in this one. Honestly, the thing I disliked the most about the book was that the entire plot was contingent on two preteen boys falling madly in love at first sight with two preteen girls, and that’s just not…fun for me.
Finally, the plot was just so-so. There were too many near-climaxes, and I just didn’t love the theme that Alice was supposed to learn near the end. I don’t feel like she deserved that kind of treatment really. If you know, then you know.
One thing that did improve from the last book was the tone. The first book’s narrator was so artful it was distracting, and I think Mafi found the perfect balance with this book’s prose.
It really wasn’t a bad book, and if it sounds like it’s your cup of tea, I’d give it a try, especially if you’re a younger reader.
Let me know in the comments what you think! Two-star reviews are hard for me to write, but I also think criticism is as necessary as praise. Hopefully you agree!