Review: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) by Hannah Whitten


My Review: 10/10

Synopsis:

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.

Check out the content warnings for this book here.

Review:

“You fear yourself that much?”

For the Wolf is exactly the book I have been waiting for to get me out of my book slump. I can’t thank Orbit enough for sending me a finished copy. Hannah Whitten, you’ve got a forever fan here. This dreamy, dark fairytale was as close to perfection as I could hope for. I have no complaints. This book has some retelling aspects of Beauty and the Beast and Red Riding Hood but it manages to be completely its own stand out journey.

If you like a little romance in your fantasy books, this is a good book for you. It’s not graphic in its romance, so if you’re a little shy about it, no worries. It is swoon-worthy and slow-burning, but also packed with murder, violence, political intrigue, religious manipulation, and so much more! As a trigger warning: the primary magic system in this world is activated by the usage of blood, so there is the act of cutting oneself to achieve the blood source. There are some other content warnings that our author provided in the link at the end of synopsis above, but that’s one of the most notable ones.

Personally, I am one of the ones that love some romance in my fantasy and I’m so happy to see a woman author not swept promptly into the YA category for writing a fantasy romance. This reads like adult fantasy and deserves to be in this category. You shouldn’t have to peruse the YA shelves to find a gorgeous, fantastical love story — and that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with being a YA writer. Take note, publishers: there are many of us out there that adore a bit of love in our adult fantasy. We want the blood, guts, and the romance!

I was sucked into For the Wolf from the moment I opened the book. I truly did not want to put it down and read until my eyes couldn’t stay open anymore, only to wake up and immediately finish the rest of the novel. I just loved these characters and this world. The Wilderwood is as enchanting as it is terrifying. The Wolf and Red are both similar in ways; self sacrificing, brave, and giving. The Wolf is more serious, whereas Red brings a bit of light-heartedness to the dynamic. Red’s sister, Neve, is a bit sheltered and trusting, but takes charge. I’m so curious to see where things go with some of our characters, there’s definitely some side characters that fall into the morally grey area and I’m curious to see if any of our bigger characters are sucked in by their causes as the story continues. This novel was a build up to a much deeper story and it is masterful in its build up. The side characters add so much to this world and I can see many of them taking a much larger part in the future.

“I understand what it means, and I want them anyway, because I am for the Wolf, and the Wolves are for the Wilderwood.”

For the Wolf is captivating and smart, with beautiful prose and charming world-building. It’s astonishing that this is Whitten’s first published novel. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series and diving in as soon as I can.

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