Human and goblin brothers Cole and Tinn are finding their way back to normal after their journey to the heart of the Oddmire. Normal, unfortunately, wants nothing to do with them. Fable, the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark, has her first true friends in the brothers. The Queen allows Fable to visit Tinn and Cole as long as she promises to stay quiet and out of sight—concealing herself and her magic from the townspeople of Endsborough.
But when the trio discovers that humans are destroying the Wild Wood and the lives of its creatures for their own dark purposes, Fable cannot stay quiet. As the unspoken truce between the people of Endsborough and the inhabitants of the Wild Wood crumbles, violence escalates, threatening war and bringing Fable’s mother closer to the fulfillment of a deadly prophecy that could leave Fable a most Unready Queen.
- Title: The Oddmire, Book 2: The Unready Queen
- Series: The Oddmire, Book 2
- Author/Illustrator: William Ritter
- Cover Artist: William Ritter
- Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
- ISBN: 1616208406
- Publication Date: June 23, 2020
- For Ages: 8-12
- Category: Middle Grade
- Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.
I’d like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
The second book in the Oddmire series exceeded my expectations and delivered spectacularly on its promise of even more magic. Picking up about a month after the events of the last book, we see the changeling brother coming to terms with his goblin magic and learning how to navigate his new sense of self. But the real star of this story is Fable. As the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark, Fable must prepare for the day that she becomes Queen by learning how to channel her wild and immensely powerful fairy magic. Her trademark humor and chaotic energy are a delight as always, and they serve her well in her quest to become the kind of witch-queen that she wants to be, not who anyone else thinks she ought to be.
Humans are encroaching on the Wild Wood. They are losing respect for the forest and the old ways. They no longer leave offerings for fairies or understand that some parts of this world belong to magical beings. Led by a certain Mr. Hill, the villagers of Endsborough begin to break the unspoken truce between the human world and the magical world, tearing down sacred trees and treating the creatures of the Wild Wood as enemies. Our heroes on both sides of the magical barrier must band together to stop the destruction and prevent an all-out war between humans and the denizens of the enchanted forest.
This series continues to surprise me, in the best way possible. I was not expecting a variation on The Music Man, nor was I expecting Fable’s wise and benevolent solution to the problems plaguing both the village of Endsborough and the Wild Wood.
There are places where the forest meets the town. What if that’s our world?
Author William Ritter continues to explore the theme of straddling different worlds; the story he began telling with a young changeling has gotten even deeper with this closer look at a young half-fairy who is destined to be Queen. The twins’ stories are far from over—it’s thrilling to watch the changeling embrace his goblin side, and the epilogue suggests that the human brother will take center stage in the next book—but in this series entry, Ritter finds new ways to pull meaning and inspiration from Fable’s journey.
Figuring out who you are and how you fit into the world is a huge part of growing up, but it’s not a process that stops once you reach adulthood. Fable’s mother, the infamous Queen of the Deep Dark herself, struggles with both her daughter’s identity and her own sense of self as she realizes how powerful Fable truly is. The Queen may be my favorite character in the series (though it’s a tough call to make, with so many rich and fascinating characters to choose from), and it’s a pleasure to see so much more of her inner thoughts in this book. It’s also a pleasure to watch the Queen and Fable channel true magic as they become one with the forest and with the universe in their own unique ways.
The barrier between the mundane and the magical is not as clear as we think it is, and we owe it to ourselves and to each other to make sure we’re not harming anyone or anything on either side of that barrier. Tackling themes of identity, prejudice, family, and duty, The Unready Queen is another stellar entry in the Oddmire series. It displays the same heart, humor, and wonder of the first book while also expanding its lore in exciting and surprising ways. I loved this book even more than the first one, and I can’t wait to see what Ritter has in store for the next adventure.
I need Book 3 NOW. I give this book 5 out of 5 coffins.