For The Wolf was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it didn’t disappoint! With a delightfully dark and spooky forest, an intense sisterly relationship, religious fanaticism, and a wonderful romance, this book was everything I wanted and more. The only downside is that I have to wait for the sequel! You might notice I’ve changed up a few things on my blog today; I hope you like the changes and aren’t like, ‘ew, what have you done Bertie?’. Without further ado, onto the 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.
When two daughters are born to royalty the first is destined to be on the Throne; the second is to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wilderwood. Red is a second daughter, and despite her sister’s protests, she glad of it. A strange power she can’t control lurks beneath her skin. Her leaving would be safer for everyone. When she reaches the forest she finds out everything she was taught was wrong. The Wolf is a man, the forest is in danger, and the sister Red left behind would destroy everything to get her back.
The Wilderwood is an amazing setting. It’s a strange, sentient forest with a thirst for blood, and good luck trying to escape its grasp. Both setting and character, the Wilderwood was such an intriguing aspect of the book, and I loved learning more about its strangeness. It’s a threatening presence and something the characters long to protect; it’s both powerful and defenceless. No spoilers here, but I loved how the main characters relationship with the Wilderwood shifted throughout the book. Even though it’d probably tear me apart I can’t help but wish I could wander inside.
One of the themes that I wasn’t expecting to love so much was sisterhood. The first sister, Neve, thought she’d be able to stop Red from leaving, but she failed. In her despair and desperation to save Red from the Wilderwood, she gets involved with an incredibly interesting plotline. It’s best if you see for yourself, but the little snippets of her point of view were always amazing.
I also loved the romance between Red and the Wolf! The way this book remixed both Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast was so much fun. Eammon is more of a man than the monster Red expected him to be. A man struggling with his responsibilities and (literally) bleeding himself dry to keep the forest at bay. The two are forced to work together, and quickly their respect for each other develops into something more. I wanted a few more scenes with these two than I got, but I guess the whole ‘the forest will eat us if we get distracted’ thing kind of puts a dampener on romantic entanglements. I’m so excited to see how their relationship will develop further in the second book!
There’s something else I want to discuss, but it dips too far into spoiler territory, so I’m keeping my mouth shut! The only thing I can say is the religion in this book is very interesting…
The only thing I didn’t enjoy about For The Wolf is that it becomes a little repetitive in the middle. I enjoy slow books, but I found myself wanting to speed things up because the scenes were too similar to each other. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t extremely prevalent, and it did help with the atmosphere of peculiarity and confinement, but I could have done with a little more forward movement. The ending was amazing though!
Overall, For The Wolf was a fantastic dark, forest-y fantasy that I couldn’t put down. I read this all in one sitting and stormed through it because I enjoyed it so much. There are so many amazing themes and character relationships; the Wilderwood has truly stolen my heart.
CW: self-harm (for magic but it happens a lot), blood, violence, death, religious fanaticism, human sacrifice, suicide mention, alcohol use, familial death, childhood neglect
(Thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review)
Hannah Whitten has been writing to amuse herself since she could hold a pen, and sometime in high school, figured out that what amused her might also amuse others. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, making music, or attempting to bake. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and children in a house ruled by a temperamental cat.
For The Wolf is out now so there’s never been a better time to grab a copy!
If you want to remember to check out this book you should add to Add to Goodreads!
I’d recommend checking out your local indie bookshop! You could also use Hive.co.uk in the UK!