Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. Willa, a young night-spirit, is her clan's best thief. She creeps into the cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won't miss. It's dangerous work--the day-folk kill whatever they don't understand--but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people. When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to escape. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her day-folk enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it? As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is, facing deadly force with the warmest compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.
Willa of the Wood, (Willa of the Wood Book 1)
What Left me wanting more: This book highlighted Willa’s deep connection to nature and the magic she can command as a result. Overall, it was very focused on her coming to terms with the lies she had been taught and finding her own path to belonging than on her relationship with the forest. Hopefully, in future books, there will be more interaction with nature and the unique way she can move within it.
Final Verdict: The audiobook was a lovely way to become immersed in Willa’s life of being a night-spirit. Middle-grade readers will enjoy justice as good conquers evil in a satisfying resolution to many of her conflicts. This book does have recurring themes of death and grief. It might be hard for sensitive readers because there are some situations of institutional abuse and kidnapping that Willa must overcome. What is deeply felt through the story is the message of love is not confined within your own clan and family can be who you choose.