Review – Wild
4
  • Posted:
  • January 23, 2014

wild

Wild is an upcoming novel by Alex Mallory, a pen name for Saundra Mitchell. The book is a retelling of the classic Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Retellings can be done very well or fail miserably. A good author pays attention to the original themes of the source book and treats the material with respect. Alex Mallory has done just that with Wild. This is a brilliant retelling.

Cade has lived in the forest for most of his life. When he was thirteen he buried his Father, and his mother a few years before. His parents instilled in him the skills to survive off the land. They also taught him to fear the outside world. Cade believes that he is one of the last humans alive and he has little to contradict that thought until the outside world shows up on his doorstep.

Dara and Josh are spending their spring break in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. They lied to their parents, deciding to camp outdoors rather than travel to Orlando with their friends. Ideally, the trip was supposed to be relaxing and romantic. However, inept camping skills on Josh’s part leads to a few critter invasions and tempers become frayed with little food. Dara is content to take photos until she senses another presence in the woods; a feeling that she never shakes. When a disaster forces Cade to return to the world his parents fled the book becomes one of the best fish-out-of-water stories that I have read in a long time.

Mallory nailed the themes from Tarzan. What she has done to modernize it in a contemporary setting is fantastic. Tarzan’s curiosity has always been his downfall. His obsession with outsiders when they enter his midst is a turning point. Throwing in electronic devices and shopping malls and instant food and convenience… all of these things work in a way that makes the classic tale come alive. The base elements are there and the characters match the pace.

Cade is the perfect reinvention of Tarzan, quick to temper and all. His intense loyalty, his direct and truthful personality, all of it rings true. There’s not an ounce of guile in his entire body. He is precisely who he needs to be. Dara is a great counterpart to him as well as a fresh take on Jane Porter. Jane was always a damsel in distress whereas Dara holds her own in any (and all) argument(s). Some of the best moments from the book come from Dara. She has more spunk than the original heroine but I’m not mad about it. Jane needed the revamp to appeal to today’s woman and Dara hits the note perfectly.

There are a few minor plot details that I am sketchy about but they’re minor quibbles. Overall the book is superb and I am really happy that Mallory chose to write it. It’s really, bloody good.

5 out of 5 stars.

– BP

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4 Comments

Susanna P

2014-01-24 15:36:38 Reply

This looks so great! I’m a huge fan of ER Burroughs, though I’m surprised at the Tarzan retellings – this is at least the second one in the past year or so, I believe. I can’t wait until this comes out. Thanks for the review!

    bibliopunkk

    2014-01-24 15:40:41 Reply

    What’s the other one, Susanna? I’m not familiar?

    2012 was the 100 year anniversary of the first Tarzan magazine publication and 2014 marks the first book pub. That’s why we are getting them now – anniversary AND copyright date is up. It’s domain free now.

Susanna P

2014-01-24 15:45:38 Reply

Ah, that explains it! The other one is Jane by Robin Maxwell. I haven’t read it yet, unfortunately.

    bibliopunkk

    2014-01-24 18:40:49 Reply

    Oh right, I completely forgot about that book. So many books and no time to keep up. I’m FINALLY reading Under the Never Sky. It’s getting harder to stay on top of things.