Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Released: November 14th, 2017
Warnings: Death, depression, mental illness
Whichwood is the second novel in Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore series. It’s a beautiful fantasy world full of rich details and character development. But as we all know; magic comes at a cost. And it has rules that must be followed.
Laylee is the last of the mordeshoor in Whichwood. That means that she’s the last person responsible for caring for the dead – and for keeping their souls from coming after the living. It used to be a noble profession, but it’s since become something that people tend to look down upon, thanks to their fear of the dead.
Unfortunately for them, neglecting a mordeshoor has consequences. And the people of Whichwood are about to find out exactly what that means.
Whichwood may be the second novel in a series, but you don’t actually have had to read Furthermore in order to jump in and follow along here. I know I had no issues –though I clearly missed out on some of the backstory for characters introduced later on in the novel.
“Maybe it was not naiveté, but suffering, that inspired kindness. Maybe, she thought, it was pain that inspired compassion.”
Warnings: Whichwood is a beautifully written novel, but it also covers some of the darker and heavier sides of life. This novel is based heavily around death, and thus bodies and spirits come up frequently. There’s also a character suffering from depression (with good reason), as well as other illnesses.
Whichwood was an intensely beautiful and emotional tale. I was shocked by how much Laylee’s story hit me. It was like an arrow sent directly towards my heart – I couldn’t hide from Laylee’s experience or emotions.
If only the townspeople had felt the same way. This was a world of magic and beauty, but also a world of consequences and prejudice. In some ways that made for a very somber tale, especially when seeing the worst of what Laylee was going through.
But in many other ways it was extremely uplifting. Just look at the quote up above and you’ll see what I mean. Whichwood managed to show us simultaneously the best and worst that people have to offer, and it did so in one captivating and moving story.
I mentioned above that I didn’t read Furthermore first, that was mostly a mistake. I didn’t realize that this was a sequel when I picked it up. I didn’t have any problems following the plot, or getting invested in Laylee’s story (obviously). I can tell that I missed out on a lot of backstory about Alice and Oliver. It was still easy enough to follow along, even missing this context. I do think that I’m going to have to go back and read Furthermore though, if Whichwood is anything to judge it by.