Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 281
lush and atmospheric fantasy
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
FOR THE WOLF is a captivating fantasy read that sweeps the reader away to the Wilderwood. Redarys (Red) is the Second Daughter born to the queen of Valleyda, and this means that she is destined for the Wolf of the Wilderwood. It is said that if the sacrifice is right, the Five Kings will be released. The Order, who leads the worship of the Five Kings and prepares for their return, will make sure the sacrifice happens as planned upon the appearance of a mark between the ages of 19 and 20. There has not been a Second Daughter in a century or so, and there are high hopes for Red's destiny.

Her twin sister, Neverah (Neve), is the First Daughter and destined to rule. Neve desperately wants to keep Red with her, but Red knows that her fate is in the woods. With something growing inside her, she is afraid for those around her if she does not go. When she enters the woods, she finds that she is not to be a sacrifice to the Wolf, as was generally accepted to be true. The Wolf is actually a man, and he is not the villain he was portrayed to be. As Red grows to understand him, the Wilderwood, and the seed growing inside her, she will have difficult choices to make.

On the outside, Neve likewise has choices to make, as there is dissent in the Order and plans afoot to actively free the Kings instead of waiting for the sacrifice to work. With themes of sisterhood, religion, survival, the power of choice, the transformation of history, and magic, this book is an atmospheric journey to another world.

I found the themes of the book to be really intriguing and thought-provoking, as we navigate the unexpected world of the Wilderwood alongside Red. It is equal parts horrifying and wondrous, a living thing with its own demands and desires. I found this to be a character driven fantasy, as we get to know both Red and Neve through the story with Neve's stories told in interludes. Their flaws and faults propel the story forward, as they each try to learn about the Wilderwood in the context of the people who surround them.

The world-building was really fascinating, with a world that felt like a dark fairytale. Imaginative and lush, this book captured it all in lyrical prose. This story moves slowly but steadily, towards an end that was unexpected and thrilling. Although this is part of a series, this ending felt satisfying enough that I was happy to have read it now. It did have a bit of a lead-in to the next book, and I will definitely be interested in picking it up!

Although this is labeled as an adult book, Red and her twin are just about to turn 20 when it begins, and the content would be appropriate for an older YA reader. This book definitely has crossover potential to appeal to many audiences.

Atmospheric, magical, and enchanting, FOR THE WOLF is a lush fantasy read that consumes the reader. Recommend for fans of WINTERSONG, THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE, and WHITE STAG.
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