This novel does not leave much out. Fairies, Native American spirit folk, humans, and powers that defy categorization all mingle in many places and on many planes. They are brought together by one cruel murder, but the war, revenge, romance, friendship, and healing sparked by that single deed explode into many plot lines that wind and tangle among events and relationships stretching not only across the span of a human life but all the way back to the world's creation. Most important in this web is Jilly Coppercorn, a character familiar to de Lint fans from previous works, who has become imprisoned in a vicious magical world of her own unintentional creation. At the same time, Walker, one of the animal people native to North America, seeks to punish the fairies who killed his daughter. Yet as each of Jilly's and Walker's friends reaches out to offer help or to seek explanations, new connections are discovered between these seemingly unrelated events and a complex network of relationships and histories is revealed. Eventually this dependency of one upon another, of learning from each other and building relationships, enables an optimistic resolution to all of the tale's many conflicts and even happiness for some of its characters. The complexity of de Lint's multidimensional world may be off-putting for some readers who would be better served by beginning with one of his earlier works. Similarly readers who prefer plot over character and physical action over psychological epiphanies may find de Lint hard going, but the author's many fans will welcome this intricate melding of his themes and characters. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006, Tor, 560p., Ages 15 to Adult.
Megan Lynn Isaac
Sentimental, wildly imaginative follow-up to The Onion Girl (2001) finds Jilly Coppercorn abducted into the fairy underworld and still sweet on fiddler Geordie Riddell. The trouble between humans and the fairy spirits gets underway when fiddler Lizzie Mahone's car breaks down on the way home from a gig with her band, the Knotted Cord. Attacked by a formidable gang of dwarfish, aggressive men called bogans, she's rescued by a taciturn native named Grey. Lizzie buries the deer the bogans killed, enraging the fairies on the one hand, but on the other, endearing herself to the deer's father, Walker. In the town of Newford, where the humans reside, occasional fiddler Geordie is dating a weird seer named Mother Crone who holds forth in the Woodforest Plaza Mall. Geordie's been best friends with artist Jilly since before the hit-and-run accident that turned her into a Broken Girl in a wheelchair, but that's as far as it goes. (" 'Everybody knows you carry a torch for each other,' " complains Jilly's friend Mona. " 'You're just never single at the same time.' ") Jilly breaks up with perfect boyfriend and nurse Daniel, leaving her free to join Geordie on a gig with the Knotted Cord at the Custom House-filling in for Lizzie's fiddler cousin Siobhan, who broke her wrist in a fall instigated by the vengeful bogans. Abducted during their sleep by fairies and spirited away to the woodlands "in-between," Lizzie and Jilly shape-shift into their younger selves and encounter all manner of strange creatures, from corbae and cerva to aganesha and crow girls (a glossary might have helped). Joe, wise kindred spirit to Jilly and peacenik among the rival factions, attempts to mollify Queen Tatiana (MotherCrone's superior), while Jilly's villainous siblings Del and Raylene make cameo appearances. Despite the convoluted lineages, a rather sweet relationship novel.
“As familiarly as though he were chronicling the lives of old friends, de Lint spins yet another magical story of the intersections between reality and the faerie and spirit world in this latest addition to the Newford opus, his twin loves of storytelling and music-making shining through every page....[H]ighly recommended.” Library Journal (starred review) on Widdershins
“De Lint weaves the individual characters' stories into a tight-knit whole....Many of his faithful readers see the people he has created as kin they want to keep up with. Walk widdershins (i.e., counterclockwise) once and you may, too.” Booklist (starred review) on Widdershins
“This pleasing addition to the popular Newford saga brings series characters Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell together in a romantic relationship that's anything but simple…. inevitably recalls Neil Gaiman's American Gods, to which this more intimate and folksy book compares favorably.” Publishers Weekly on Widdershins
“Books like Widdershins can be read with tremendous pleasure, and regular readers will find themselves slipping easily back into de Lint's comforting… world.” The Ottawa Citizen
“Sentimental, wildly imaginative follow-up to The Onion Girl.... Despite the convoluted lineages, a rather sweet relationship novel.” Kirkus Reviews on Widdershins
“The author's many fans will welcome this intricate melding of his themes and characters.” VOYA on Widdershins
“De Lint is a master stylist, and the tale of Jilly and Geordie's slow but inevitable coming together is told with extraordinary sensitivity and grace.” Romantic Times Bookclub (4.5 star review) on Widdershins
“[V]intage de Lint and a perfect example of how his nontraditional approach to faerie works so well....Charles de Lint is one of my all-time favorite authors and...Widdershins...stand[s] up as some of the best writing he has done.” Colleen Mondor, BookSlut, on Widdershins
“I've praised de Lint's writing in the past, but I've run out of superlatives for Widdershins. It is easily one of the bestif not the best novels in his vast library.” Tom Knapp, Rambles.net, on Widdershins
“This broad, captivating fantasy involves love and magic and features a fairy court set in a contemporary mall.” Dallas Morning News on Widdershins
“I do recommend Widdershins very highly.… chalk it up to de Lint's masterful storytelling, because he is a storyteller of the highest order. The characters alone are worth the time…. And of course, there is that blend of the magical and the real that only de Lint seems to be able to pull off.” Green Man Review
“Imagine me, your humble book reviewer, down on my knees with my arms extended above my head, bowing at the waist in worship over and over before a book set upon an altar. Well, after reading Widdershins, the extraordinary new novel by Charles de Lint, I not only wanted to bow in worship to the book, which I consider the best thing I've read in the last couple of years (if not longer), but to the author as well. Anyone with this kind of talent for storytelling and dreamweaving deserves his own altar.… Five stars is just not enough. Widdershins is an experience not to be missed. Just start walking counter-clockwise…” Curled Up With a Good Book on Widdershins