Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi - The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 4)

In The Ironwood Tree, Mallory is kidnapped by dwarves, who are under the command of the ogre, Mulgarath, and Jared and Simon go off to rescue her. Book 4 takes on a slightly darker tone than the previous books, with some true tension in the Grace family -- when Jared overhears his mother making an exasperated call to their father as she is at wit's end as to how to deal with Jared and his anger; when Jared explodes at Simon as they try to get to bottom at the quarry, unsure of how to control his temper. There have been hints of the underlying tension in the previous books as the Grace family (minus the father) makes a fresh start at the Spiderwick estate, but it is only in this book that shows how the divorce and separation of the family have affected them, especially Jared. There is also a massacre of the dwarves by Mulgarath's army of goblins, which would have been quite a confronting sight for the little kiddies if it were included in the movie! This was another quick and fairly enjoyable read, although some parts felt like filler sections and were not central to the story. For example, what need was there for Mulgarath to shape-shift and appear at the school? You would think that he would just send one of his minions, rather than the head honcho making an appearance himself. It just didn't quite make sense. Regardless, this was a decent effort and set up the scene for the showdown with Mulgarath in the last book of the series.