The Wilderwood (#1)
Format: Paperback, 480 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Genre: Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.
An instant NYT bestseller and word-of-mouth sensation, this dark, romantic debut fantasy weaves the unforgettable tale of 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 First Daughter is for the throne.
The Second Daughter is for the Wolf.
And the Wolves are for the Wilderwood.
For the Wolf, by debut author Hannah F. Whitten, is the first installment in the authors The Wilderwood series. This lush debut epic fantasy combines fairytale elements, rich world-building, and a dark romance to appeal directly to fans of books like Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale. For the Wolf is a dark retelling of the story of Beaty and the Beast with a bit of Little Red Riding Hood mixed it. In this story Red is bound to go into the woods as a "sacrifice" to the Wolf on her 20th birthday. Red is resigned to this fate, but things with the Wolf and the Wilderwood are not what they are rumored to be.
The Wilderwood is dying and because it’s dying, monsters from the Shadowlands are escaping into the world. The Shadowlands was created by the Wilderwood and is located directly under the forest. Eammon’s job is to close these holes between the world and the Shadowlands and kill any monsters that escape. Red (Redarys) is the second daughter, and her older sister (Neve) is the heir to Queen Isla. Red is prepared to fulfill her destiny and wishes to be away from those she loves because of the dangerous dark magic within her, which continues to change.
The people of Valleyda are hoping that in return, the Wolf will release the Kings who bargained with the forest to find away the monster Gods only to end up in Shadowland. However, losing Red isn’t something Neve is willing to accept. Once Red is sent into the forest, she realizes she’s been misinformed about many things throughout her life, including the wolf she’s destined to be given to. Red’s power is needed more than anything to save the Wilderwood.
Red meets the wolf (Eammon) and the living forest, as well as Fife and Lyra who are bound to Wilderwood, she learns of her dangerous
gifts, and a friendship, albeit reluctant with misunderstandings, gives
way to the truth behind the myth, the wolf’s real presence, and the
darkness within Wilderwood. Away from her family, locked in the
entanglement, she cannot be reached by her sister who is desperately
looking for her.
Meanwhile, Neve has fallen in league with the Order priestess's who will do anything to release their gods from the Shadowland including sacrificing Red, and destroying Wilderwood. Red struggles to understand her magic which she has ignored for 4 years, while also learning how to open her heart to another without worrying that person will treat her like her own mother did. Neve's scheming to find a way to rescue Red ends up messing things up a whole lot more than she ever thought possible.
The POV also alternates between Red in the Wilderwood's and Neve (Red’s twin sister) in Valleyda by way of Interludes. Luckily, I have been approved for the sequel and shall be reading it shortly. It appears that the story will be a shared focus on both Neve and Red next time.