For the Wolf
Author: Hannah F. Whitten
Series: Wilderwood, book 1
Publisher: Orbit Books (June 1, 2021)
Paperback, 448 pages
Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
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.
The author has provided a list of content warnings here.
This is a beautifully written twist on Little Red Riding Hood meets Beauty and the Beast with a sprinkle of Snow White and Rose Red. It makes my fairy tale loving heart go pitter-pat.
This is billed as an adult dark fantasy, though I can see it bridging the gap to YA readers as well – maybe it belongs somewhere in the new adult range? If I had to pin a (long-winded) label on it, I’d call it an NA dark fantasy romance. I feel like the themes of Red leaving home (at age 21) to fulfill her destiny and meet her fate, as well as Neve’s storyline of coming into her power as the next ruler of their small and frozen country really fit into that being out on your own as an adult with nobody shielding you, making your own choices and dealing with the consequences that I feel is the niche that the NA category really speaks to.
At first I didn’t really like the interlude chapters that give snapshots of Neve’s story arc, probably because I was resentful of any time at all taken away from Red and Eammon’s story and just wanted to get back to them as quickly as possible! But then as all the pieces began to fall into place, I was just drawn inexorably into this amazing, gorgeous story. I found myself shouting at Neve during her chapters (mostly “What do you think you’re DOING?!”)
The descriptions in this book are so lush and vivid, with characters that felt real and solid, okay, often also bloody. There were moments when I could swear I smelt the twilight green of the forest, or heard the branches rustling and leaves crackling underfoot. And then there’s the interweaving of the various relationships and politics and power structures. Absolutely breathtaking.
I CANNOT WAIT for the next book, For the Throne, though the major storyline does wrap up within this first book so you could read it as a standalone if you choose.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.