book review

The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Beginning WoodsTitle: The Beginning Woods

Author: Malcolm McNeill

Published: 1. September 2016.

Edition: Pushkin Press

                 Paperback, 448 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | Mystery



The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air – just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace.


Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings.


To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death.

But can he bear the truth – or will is destroy him?


Greater than your dreams. Darker than your fears. Full of more wonder than you could ever desire. Welcome to the ineffable Beginning Woods.

Goodreads | Bookdepository | Amazon

◄ 2 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

I’m quiet conflicted with my feelings for this book. I also wasn’t sure how to actually rate this book. Honestly I have also no idea how to write this review. (Basically I’m confused with my own thoughts. So apologies if this review is not that coherent.) Anyway, enough rambling – lets actually talk about the book!

The premise of this story sounded simply fascinating. I just couldn’t wait to find out what was actually going on and how (and why) people kept disappearing. I was pretty disappointed with the conclusion that we got. I don’t know why really, I just expected something different. (Or rather, I hoped for something different.)

The story was also rather slow, a lot slower than I thought it would be (based on the premise). It didn’t bother me that much, as I tend to enjoy slower books as well. My favourite part of the whole book was the writing. It was simply wonderful, each sentence felt magical and I adored reading it. It reminded me of fairy tales, which is always a plus in my book. So why such a low rating?

Simply because I didn’t enjoy anything else, aside from the writing. I didn’t connect to the characters, they just didn’t stand out to me in any way. The story seemed intriguing, but I got bored of it rather soon. And it was also VERY confusing. I found myself going back a few pages so that I could understand what was happening, as I couldn’t follow what was happening. (Which started annoying me after a while.) The world was very interesting, but it just didn’t click with me. I honestly have no idea how to explain that.

Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. I don’t think I can recommend it, though it’s always possible that you will enjoy it more than I did.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Thank you for reading my review! I hope you have a wonderful day.



8 thoughts on “The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill || ARC Review

  1. It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy this book as much. I do think the blurb sounds interesting though, and I guess if the main reason you didn’t enjoy it was that you didn’t connect with the characters I may still give it a try. I think the cover and blurb have just completely captured my attention! 🙂
    Still great review Anna! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man. That’s a shame. But I’m glad the writing was good enough that you pushed through to the end! Particularly at 448 pages…
    This seems to be Malcolm McNeill’s first book. Will you look for future books by him, or was this enough?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is a shame… The writing was really good and it didn’t feel that long while I was reading it. (Probably because I was enjoying the writing so much.
      Hmmm…I might. It depends if his next book sounds like something I would enjoy. If it is, then I most likely will read it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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