Wednesday, May 26, 2021

ARC Review: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Title: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1)
Author: Hannah Whitten
Publication Date: June 15, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
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. 

Going into For the Wolf I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I love dark fantasy and fairytales, but I didn't love Uprooted. I am thrilled to say that this was absolutely a ME book! While I do think it is a dark fantasy in the same way that Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale are, I wouldn't really compare them. To me, this is closer to Joanna Ruth Meyer's Echo North or Rosamund Hodge's Cruel Beauty, and those happen to be some of my all-time favorites. 

For the Wolf is told in alternating POVs. The first is Red, the second daughter who has terrifying magic and is meant to be a sacrifice for the Wolf who keeps the monsters of the Wilderwood at bay. The second is her sister, Neve, who is trying to save Red from her fate. At first the split POV slowed the book down for me, but by the end I was totally on board with both sisters' stories.

This book grabbed me within the first couple chapters once Red entered the Wilderwood. I absolutely adore all of the lore present within this story. The town Red and her sister are from is full of sinister religion and superstition that Red comes to realize is far from the truth. The Wolf is actually a man named Eammon and is nothing like what she has been taught. The relationship between Red and Eammon was EVERYTHING. If enemies to lovers is your trope, you are going to love this. 

As I already mentioned, the lore of For the Wolf is incredible and so is the rest of the world building. While I can't wait to see a map of this world, I felt like I could easily envision the Wilderwood and the lands it surrounds and separates. The magic system is unique and well explained with small reveals throughout the book to keep you guessing. The cult-like religion that rules this world, along with its villain, is multifaceted and believable and I cannot wait to see where this goes in book two. 

One thing that I did notice is that this story seems to be closer to Beauty and the Beast than Little Red Riding Hood. I don't know if there's a deeper original tale that I'm unfamiliar with but, other than Red's and the Wolf's names, I didn't see the similarities to Red Riding Hood. Luckily, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. That being said, For the Wolf may have touches of these tales, but it's utterly unique and doesn't rely too heavily on any of them.

For the Wolf is an absolutely incredible dark fairy tale that had me immediately in a slump after it ended because honestly nothing can compare. I was hyping this book to my friends before it ended and I plan to shout from the rooftops for the foreseeable future. The wait for For the Throne is going to be long and I'll certainly be re-reading this in the meantime.