I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Series: Wilderwood #1
Published: June 2021
The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.
For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.
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.
CW: the author provided a list of content warnings here.
For the Wolf was one of my most highly anticipated reads for the year and, boy, did it deliver! I loved this book from its first page right up to its last and it easily earned its rightful spot as one of my favourite reads this year so far.
Redarys is a Second Daughter and all her life she’s known what that means: her only purpose is to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wilderwood so that he will return their old kings-turned-gods to her world.
The First Daughter is for the throne.
The Second Daughter is for the Wolf.
And the Wolves are for the Wilderwood.
But Red soon discovers that not things aren’t always what they seem, and old myths and legends sometimes lie. The Wolf is in fact a man struggling to hold together the now crumbling Wood, the last remaining barrier between Red’s world and an evil beyond imagination.
For the Wolf brings together familiar fairy tales and original mythology to create a complex and rich world. I could definitely see elements of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast, and even spotted a little Snow White in there! This book takes well-known tropes and elements and gives them an original twist, creating a highly entertaining and engaging read that had me gripped throughout.
I personally loved the characters and the way they changed throughout the book as more and more is revealed about the Wilderwood and its purpose, the kings, and the mysterious shadows slowly creeping into the world.
Red is definitely the centre of the book, whether we’re following her POV or looking at her sister Neve’s attempts to find a way to bring Red back. I really enjoyed seeing Red grow and accept her role in the wood… and at the Wolf’s side. While at first she seems passively resigned to her fate, her full strength quickly comes through as she works hard to find her own place in the world. Red is headstrong, witty, independent and fiercely loyal to the people she loves: basically, everything I love in an MC. The romance is definitely a slow burn and Eammon, the Wolf, is the perfect tall, dark and brooding gentleman.
I also really liked Neve’s interludes. I found her to be a very interesting character, and in some ways even more complex and intriguing than Red. I’m so curious to see what Neve’ll get up to in the next book! The entire cast is fantastic, and I loved all the secondary characters. I wish we’d gotten to see a bit more of some of them, but maybe I’ll get my wish in the second book.
The world-building was also perfectly on point! The Wilderwood gave me definite Uprooted vibes, as did some of the writing. I’m in love with the author’s writing style and the way she crafts gorgeous and deliciously creepy descriptions. The pace did slow a fair bit around the middle mark, which made it feel as though certain sections were dragging on with not much happening. It picked up again though and the ending was incredibly fast-paced and gave me ALL the feelings at once.
For the Wolf is one of those books that reminded me why I love fantasy so much. Magic, an eerie wood, legends and traditions, and an incredible cast of characters come together in this beautiful and unforgettable tale. Can’t wait for the second book!