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.
It’s a forest and wolf book. About the first daughter being for the throne, and the second daughter being for the Wolf. But the Wolf is not the monster that the legends have made him out to be. I mean, that sounds right up my alley and I was desperate to to read this. It was a forest and a wolf book. It has magic. Yes, I wanted to read this very badly. Trigger warnings
This book was interesting.
It was not what I expected in a lot of ways, but I can say that did end up loving it a whole lot.
First off, it is beautifully, achingly, written. I am in awe of Whitten’s talent, because the way she weaves words together is just sublime. It was like she was made in the forest and sprouted up to tell a story set in the trees around her. The writing of this book gave it an incredible feel, tainted a bit dangerous, with scenery that took my breath away and magic that was wind swept, and haunted eyes in tortured souls. This was one of my favorite things about this book, this feeling that it had about it, that made it so amazing.
The story was one of the things that surprised me. I thought it was going to focus fully on Red, and her journey in the Wilderwood, but there are, what felt big to me, chunks of Neve back at the castle. These interludes were not bad, at all! I really enjoyed them, and I think they made the story all the stronger, but I felt like they overshadowed Red’s story. Her chapters felt fast and like not much happened in them compared to the interludes. Though, I can say that both facets of the story had their very own, very distinct feel to them. One is very political and maneuvering, while the other is magic and running from danger. I just wish I had connected with Red’s part of the story a bit more.
Speaking of Red, I really hate saying this, I found her character to be a bit bland. I know, I know! I guess I just wanted a bit more from her and her story. I think it’s just that I didn’t fully connect with her and her story, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t appreciate it! I loved watching her go through the Wilderwood and everything that she finds there. I guess the slow burn of her character didn’t quite work for me. Though, I did think it was wonderful how she managed to go through two cloaks and a jacket. She keeps ruining clothes that keep her warm. It’s hilarious haha.
Though, for all the other characters, I loved them a whole heck of a lot. Eammon, oh the tortured soul he is. He has shaggy hair and a library and is dead set on being a marytr. So yes, I compeltely fell in love with him. Fife and Lyra were wonderful. They are in a relationship and Lyra is aromantic and I just thought it was so great and I love them both a whole lot. Raffe and Neve, wow. I love Neve. She is desperate to bring her sister back. Her journey is painful, and the angst was wonderful. And Raffe, how noble, how sweet, how amazing a character.
Also, the romantic longing in this book is just top notch. Between both of the romantic relationships, I wanted to sequel whenever they came on the page. Just, so much longing.
The magic in this book was also top notch. It’s, something hard to describe without giving too much away. It does what it needs to do. It just is, and that, for me, is what made it so amazing. Because it contrasts with the consequences others have to face, and the choices they have to make. But in the end, it just is.
Overall, I think I was expecting to fall head over heels for this book, and I didn’t. But, I did fall in love with it! It’s incredibly written, and there is so much forest and so much wolf. There’s longing and magic and gorgeous cloaks and so much more. It truly is a very good book.