The Ironwood Tree by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Posted September 6, 2017 in Book Review / 0 Comments

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The Ironwood Tree by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly BlackThe Ironwood Tree by Holly Black, Tony DiTerlizzi
Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles #4
Also in this series: The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda's Secret, The Wrath of Mulgarath, The Chronicles of Spiderwick: A Grand Tour of the Enchanted World, Navigated by Thimbletack, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, The Care and Feeding of Sprites
Published by Simon & Schuster on April 1st 2004
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Pages: 128
Format: Hardcover
Source: Owned
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four-stars

First a pack of vile, smelly goblins snatch Simon. Then a band of elves try to entrap Jared. Why is the entire faerie world so eager to get their hands on Spiderwick's Guide? And will the Grace kids be left alone, now that the Guide has mysteriously disappeared? Don't count on it.
At school, someone is running around pretending to be Jared, and it's not Simon. To make matters even worse, now Mallory has disappeared and something foul in the water is killing off all the plants and animals for miles around. Clues point to the old abandoned quarry, just outside of town. Dwarves have taken over an abandoned mine there. And the faerie world's abuzz with the news that a creature with plans to rule the world has offered them a gift to join with him -- he's given them a queen...

Main points

Minor spoilers ahead!

This is the book in which things go very, very badly.

In the last book things seemed calmer, and Jared wasn’t getting blamed as much, but here, the faeries finally goad him into something that causes his suspension from school. His mom is on the verge of sending him to live with his dad, who doesn’t want him. It’s very sad. Jared’s anger issues are also still quite out of control. The dynamic here gets a lot worse.

But in this book, they have to face foes greater than before. There are more riddles to solve, deals to make, tricks to pull off, and more creatures who want to keep them prisoner. Naturally. Along with another sibling kidnapped. There’s a lot to deal with! And Jared says it himself: he’s just a kid. How can he be expected to deal with all that?

The ending is far from the ending. We finally meet, and learn to fear, the dreaded Mulgarath. It seems they have lost. But they have not yet begun to fight.

I have always had a particular fondness for this book in the series. I think the metalwork of the dwarves fascinates me. Their goal to rebuild the world in silver and bronze…Their way of making metal seem lifelike, their effortless automatons…It’s beautiful and eerie. I also think that the whole Snow White aspect of Mallory in the glass coffin is intriguing. Except instead of death, it’s eternal life. Quite the opposite. And she looked so beautiful. It seemed like so much work to go through for so little purpose. Why did they need to dress her up and give her immortality? They were just going to shut her up in a cave forever…and they were going to let her brothers live out the rest of their days in the cave. No immortality for them. Although immortality in a glass case isn’t really much of a life to begin with. It just seemed so excessive. And Jared did have a good point about their ideal future: if they replace everything living with a metal replica, how will they get oxygen from trees? How will they get food from plants and animals? They wouldn’t be able to survive. Unless dwarves need different things to survive…I’ll never understand them. Maybe there’s more information in the Guide?

  reaction upon finishing

I like it! But there are bad times ahead…

this book in one word

bitter

About Holly Black

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

About Tony DiTerlizzi

New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, has been creating books for over a decade. From his fanciful picture books like “Jimmy Zangwow’s Moon Pie Adventure”, “Ted” and “The Spider & The Fly” (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like “Kenny and The Dragon” and the WondLa trilogy, Tony always imbues his stories with a rich imagination. With Holly Black, he created the middle-grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles, which has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in over thirty countries. In 2014, he teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy in a picture book featuring artwork by Academy award-winning concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie.

Rating
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Setting
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Ending
four-stars
Overall: four-stars
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