As I work through my backlog of books for reviews, I figure I’ll start with what I read most recently and then work backwards. Through the whole year. Because I don’t think I’ve really written a review for anything I’ve read since February… Plus, bonus, in starting with this one, I can share our virtual event with Hannah from the summer!
From the publisher marketing:
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, sweeping debut 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.
The warm familiarity of the bookshelves kept her together, knit her back into herself as she wandered between them.
If you absolutely loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, this is the book for you. I’ve been hunting for ACOTAR vibes from a book since I first read it when it released in 2015. While clearly inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, there are also strong Beauty and the Beast moments throughout as well and it will definitely satisfy the itch for the reader who hasn’t really been able to get back into fantasy since Sarah J. Maas came along and blew them away… like me. However, if Hannah’s Goodreads is anything to go off of, she hasn’t read ACOTAR which, I think, would be a good thing here. Also, while I love it, it’s problematic, but this isn’t an ACOTAR review so I’ll leave it there.
Red and her twin sister Neve are the best of friends until an unnamed something happens on their sixteenth birthday. They’d always known they had different destinies, one for the throne (Neve) and one for the wolf (Red). And in that fateful moment of their sixteenth birthday, Red becomes convinced that being for the wolf is for the best, and refuses to try to run from her destiny, despite Neve’s desperate pleas to her to do so.
And so sets in motion our plot, one full of adventure and looks of longing, and all the other things one wants from a debut fantasy novel. Eammon, our Wolf, initially wants nothing to do with Red and even tries to send her back from the kingdom from whence she came, claiming the dangers of the forest are too much. She’s not the first second daughter he’s encountered promised to the Wolf in the hopes of bringing the old gods (five kings) back to the kingdoms. But he’s also not the first wolf, he’s fulfilling a destiny he never wanted, never had a choice in following, just like Red.
And ultimately, at the end of the day, For the Wolf is all about choice – the choices we make, the ones we feel forced into and the ones that aren’t as one sided as they might seem. We make choices for the sake of our family and friends, the ones we love more than anything, sometimes failing to remember that they would rather suffer with us than potentially be without us.
For the Wolf is also one of those books that walks the line between YA and adult and while I wished it was a bit more adult in some places, I wound up glad that I could still foreseeably safely send it to my 14 year old sister in law. I am, however, exceptionally glad that it is published as adult fiction – for years female fantasy authors have been relegated to the realm of YA and not given a proper chance in the old boys club of fantasy writers and it is high time for a change, one I’m glad to see benefit For the Wolf. I am anxiously awaiting when I can get my hands on the sequel and wholeheartedly thank my coworker Marielle for telling me time and time again how I just had to read it!
Rating: 8 out of 10