Into The Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Page Street Kids and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain. When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.



A friend of mine (hi Mo!), has read and loved some of Meyer’s other books, which means that she was definitely on my radar. I wasn’t sure when I was going to pick this one, but it was one that piqued my interest. Siren stories are always hit or miss for me, and I find that I’m so picky with them. But, when I saw for the cover for this one, I was just enraptured. The horns and the green and the gentle delicacy of it all just drew me completely in. I knew I wanted to give it a shot. Trigger warnings: torture, blood, gore

I have very, very complicated feelings about this book. I also really, really hate to say that I didn’t love it. I really wanted to! It just wasn’t for me.

I think I’ll start with the writing style, because I think it seeped into other aspects of the book as well. This book felt like it was written as a summary. I felt like I was reading a summary of things that had happened instead of reading what was actually happening. I guess it can kind of make sense with how the ending played out, but it just didn’t strike a cord with me. It felt fast and made it seem like everything was just skimming the surface.

All the events seemed to fly by. I felt like this could have been a duology or prehaps even a trilogy. There were so many fascinating aspects to this world that were simply stated instead of explained. There were so many plot points that simply moved along instead of being dug deeper into. This book was going for a light, airy, and gentle approach. And I respect that. I just feel like there could have been more in a lot of places.

The complications in my feelings come in the fact that there were parts of this book that I liked. Once I hit part two, I started to get invested in what was happening. The writing style might not have been my favorite, but I felt like the world was being explored and more was being explained. I started really liking where the book was headed!

While I had personal problems with the writing style, I can see what it was going for. It brought the scenery of this book to life. It made the whole book seem light green and full of wind smelling of sweet flowers and drifting leaves. I also have an application for the quietness of it. Owen and Seren have such a gentleness to them and I couldn’t help falling in love with those parts of them. And of course Awela was adorable.

I think I just didn’t connect to the heart (haha) of this story. I can appreciate the quiet beauty of it, I just got frustrated with the pace. It felt like things were just stated and that was that. This made the plot fly by and I just wanted to spend more time on certain things. It feels weird to complain about what I didn’t like because the book was doing what it was trying to do. And if it did it differently, it wouldn’t be the book it is. It’s truly just my personal preference! I do think people will love it. If you feel like you’d like this book, I urge you to give it a shot! You might completely fall in love with it.

Into The Heartless Woods comes out January 12, 2021! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!


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