Title: For the Wolf
Author: Hannah Whitten
Series: The Wilderwood #1
Release Date: 3/6/21
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 40
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free finished copy from Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.
Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.
But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.
I enjoyed this book but it also has me a little on the fence. It has incredible world building, with highly detailed descriptions that I suspect other readers may not enjoy as much as I did. I liked how much of the lore of this land, we got introduced to at the start and how those believed tales, stories and religious practices slowly got twisted and turned as Red (our main character) learnt more about the reality of her fate. This extensive worldbuilding is what really held my attention as a reader, but it also felt lacking in areas. We were told about these dark shadows, the evil lurking under the wood, the dark magic, but when it came to demonstrating all those aspects during the plot it just somewhat skipped over them. It was all tell and very little show, which is disappointing.
The romance was cute, but instalove in its feeling and felt very young for a main character in her 20s. The contrast between Reds story in the woods and her sisters story in the city were interesting and had a really complex feel of weaving political machinations but I also don’t feel we got enough from Neve’s perspective to fully explore that side of the plot and when they did combine it was in the end rush which again left me wanting a bit more bite. I just don’t feel we really got to know the characters fully apart from Red, so I wasn’t as invested in the ending to make it feel really impactful.
I did really like the writing style, the pace was really like that of a classic fairytale and it really did a good job of drawing me in to make me want to know more. I liked that the stories played into the religion of the land and would have loved to have spent more time on that. The magic system also had a nice amount of light and dark to it and again I wish we had seen that played with more too. I still overall found it an enjoyable read it which for me started off amazing but just seemed to loose points as I contnued.