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.
I received a free copy of this book for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own,
The first daughter is for the Throne. The second is for the Wolf. Red has always known her destiny, as the second daughter she will be sacrificed to the Wolf on her 20th birthday to ensure the safety of Valleyda from the Wilderwood and the monsters it keeps at bay. She has resigned herself to her fate, and goes willingly to the forest and the wolf that lays in wait. Only the wolf isn’t exactly what she expected, and neither is the Wilderwood. After meeting Eammon, Red learns that not all the stories she learnt growing up are true, the Wolf isn’t quite what history made him out to be, and through him Red learns that her magic and destiny aren’t quite what she first imagined. But back in Valleyda Neve isn’t quite so willing to accept Red’s fate & she sets into motion a chain of events that will change both sisters lives forever.
This will be a slightly mixed review, though I’m sure I’ll be in the minority with my more negative points. Everything from the premise to the cover screamed that this would be a Red Riding Hood retelling, instead it was a pretty to the book retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Now I’m a huge Beauty and the Beast fan so I had NO issue with this change at all, but it definitely threw me a little when I first noticed the similarities. Any fan of the story will not find it hard to notice little nods to the Disney film, but Whitten does a terrific job of making this story her own adding a cursed Forest as well as other changes to keep us on our toes.
For the Wolf is told from two main POV’s. We have Red on her journey to the Wilderwood and the fate that awaits her there, and Neve her sister who desperately wanted Red to run despite the consequences, and would do anything in her power to get her sister back. I liked Red. She was incredibly resilient, even in the face of death. After being tainted by the woods magic she willingly gave herself over to protect those she loves, knowing that staying in Valleyda would put her sister in danger. She has always known her destiny and has never tried to run away from it. Neve was a character I could relate to in a way as an elder sister, I’m sure I would be as unwilling as her to let my sister head off to an unknown fate, but I also felt she was incredibly naive in certain parts, her love for Red blinded her to certain peoples motivations which left her and Red at risk.
We also get a great cast of side characters, some made more of an impact than others but they all have an important part to play in the story. But by far the ‘main’ side character was Eammon the Wolf. I LOVED Eammon, my sweet little cinnamon roll trying to carry the weight of the world, or in this case the Wilderwood, on his shoulders. So used to having to try and protect the Kingdom by himself he is resistant in letting Red help him, needing to protect her from his own fate, even when he realises that Red only wants to be where he is.
The plot was well crafted, there were plenty of twists, some I saw coming and some I definitely did not. Though it does follow the plot of Beauty and the Beast the author manages to make it her own twist on the story and because of that you’re never quite sure who you can truly trust, nor where the story is going. One thing that did throw me a little, and stick with me here, the actual story line was incredible fast paced, events happened at breakneck speed and I would have liked a little more time to get myself situated in Red’s new world with it’s characters and magic, that being said, the authors writing style lends itself to a slower read, so although the actual events of the book move fast, you definitely can’t blitz through the story, and because of that the two just didn’t mould well together for me.
For anyone who loves a little, or a lot of romance in their fantasies then this is definitely one to read. It was angst filled, slow burn and I just loved the interactions between the characters, seeing them come to trust one another as well as themselves. Red, knowing the likelihood that her time in the forest would kill her, had opened herself up to physical relationships but closed herself off emotionally, and Eammon simply didn’t want to put the ‘weight’ of carrying the forest onto anyone else shoulders. So seeing the pair of them opening themselves up, adding emotions into the mix, made for lots of angsty scenes that I loved.
I did think the ending was a little easy. I’ve seen the author talk about how ‘dark’ this book was, and I honestly didn’t get that. There were definite dark bits, but in general I didn’t get that dark and creepy vibe I think the author was going for. I also feel like the magic system was underdeveloped. I just could never seem to get my head around it, and in the scenes where the magic was being used, which are fairly frequent, I was always left a little confused as to what exactly had happened. I know this review has probably come off more negative than positive, but I did enjoy the book. Writtens writing style adds a magical element to an already magical story and completely transports you to the Wilderwood. But I do feel like the more negative points I brought up made it so I enjoyed this story, but I certainly didn’t love it.