ARC Review: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

About the Book:

Title: For the Wolf

Author: Hannah Whitten

Series: Wilderwood #1

Page Length: 448

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

Publisher: Orbit Books

Synopsis: 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 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.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon    |     Book Depository

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links.


My Review:

This was one of my most anticipated reads on the Spring, and I really enjoyed it. The story has a dark, Gothic feel, and it includes so many wonderful elements that are often prevalent in Gothic pieces. The brooding anti-hero, the dark, atmospheric tone, the protagonist who is unaware of the real dangers she faces, and the vivid descriptions of the setting make the story come alive (both literally and figuratively) and add to the eerie, dark, and Gothic feel of the book. The story also has elements that are reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood. I love that the author took two simple stories, twisted and expanded them, and created a new, dark, and gripping story.

The story is told from dual perspectives, Neve and Reds. They are the First Daughter and the Second Daughter of the Queen. It’s interesting to see how two women who are so close are destined for such different paths in life. “The First Daughter is for the throne. The Second Daughter is for the Wolf.” Neither woman has control over her own fate, and they share frustrations of not having a voice in their futures.

Her life had been a house of cards, pieces stacked on top of one another more by ease of construct than by a choice truly made, because weren’t things hard enough without her making them any harder?

Though there are chapters from Neve’s perspective, Red is the main protagonist of the story, and she is strong, brave, understanding, and compassionate. A woman with no choice, Red shows such determination and strength. She also loves reading, which is fabulous. Her character arc is really interesting. Because of long-standing traditions, religion, and mythology, Red has known her entire life that she would have to sacrifice herself to the Wilderwood. Mainly to protect her sister Neve, Red is resigned to her fate, and she acts selflessly to protect Neve and others she cares about. However, when she enters the Wilderwood, nothing is as she’s been told, and she has to come to terms with her new situation. Red’s story becomes more complicated as she learns the secrets of the Wilderwood, the people who inhabit it, and what it actually takes to keep everyone safe. I love her story and how she faces her obstacles head-on even when she is afraid.

There is a wonderfully angsty enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn romance. I really enjoyed this relationship, which isn’t shocking considering I love a tall, dark, and brooding hero. A handsome, smart, and brave man with a heart of gold? Yes, please! Red expected to hate Eammon, but he is vastly different from the monster she was raised to fear. They are both self-sacrificing, and they both have to deal with so much pain, both physical and emotional. They have a strong connection, and I so wanted them to find a way to be together, even though it seemed impossible. So many obstacles stand in their way!

I’d let the world burn before I hurt you.

There are several other interesting relationships throughout the novel, including Neve’s complicated relationship with two long-time friends-turned-potential love interests, Neve and Red’s difficult relationship with their mother, and the unique relationship between two people Red meets in the Wilderwood. One that really stands out is the relationship between Red and Neve. These sisters would do anything for each other, and their love for each other fuels many of their actions and decisions. Neve is desperate to get Red back, and Red wants more than anything to reunite with Neve. The pain and loss that the sisters feel when separated are deep and heart-wrenching. I think the author makes some great intimations about the power of love, the pain of loss, and the lengths people will go to protect the ones they love.

The story is an exploration of relationships, the unquestioning belief in religion, tradition, and mythology, the adverse effects of blindly following the masses, and more. The layers of mythology and religion, as well as the realities of the Wilderwood, are complicated, complex, and often contradictory. It definitely makes the reader question and think. I like that it explores such thought-provoking topics and feel like it’s a story that I’ll think about long after I’ve finished it.

People with power resent losing it, and too much power for too long a time can make a villain out of anyone.

For the Wolf is a great debut novel for readers who like fantasies and dark fairy tale reimaginings. I would recommend checking the content warnings before reading the book, as blood, cutting, violence, and a few other elements could be triggers some readers. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Orbit Books, and Hannah Whitten for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The love story.
  • The sister relationship.
  • The gothic atmosphere.
  • Basically, everything. I loved the story!

Favorite Lines:

Grief was like gravel in her slipper, and she felt it more when she was standing still.

You had to be a whole person to be worth mourning. She’d never been that to her mother. Never been anything more than a relic.

Arik was a blade that drew blood two different ways, and the wounds left were best tended to alone.

If her destruction was imminent, she’d rather be the architect than a bystander.

All the Second Daughters, more icon than individual. Defined by what they were instead of who.

The Wilderwood is only as strong as we let it be.

Sometimes you don’t mourn people so much as you mourn who they could’ve been.

Hope, you know? It’s like a boot that won’t break in. Hurts to walk in it, hurts worse to go barefoot.

Recommendations:

This is a great story for readers who like dark, atmospheric fairy tale reimaginings with interesting characters and messages and a slow-building romance.

29 thoughts on “ARC Review: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

  1. I mostly tend to stay away from gothic books tbh. They are all very dark and have gore. I don’t like reading scary books because I get scared a lot and have nightmares! But, this seems like its a tad bit different?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you loved it because I loved it too. LOL! You describe Red and Eammon quite well! I found them both to be quite similar with their self-sacrificing nature. I was frustrated by Eammon a lot though because he tended to keep information from her. I understand his reasons why (ahem…self-sacrificing…lol) but doing so took the decision away from Red and of all things, I wanted her to be able to fully understand what she was getting herself into. Of course, I still squeed over the romance but still…let her make her own decisions.

    Red and Neve’s sisterly bond was compelling to me. They loved one another so much! I’m a bit scared of what I’ll find in the next book! Did you have a favorite scene?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear what you’re saying – in trying to protect her, he takes away her choice to a degree. But he’s so brooding and wonderful, I forgive him. lol I loved the sisterly bond too. The relationships were one of my favorite aspects of the story. They are so complicated and layered – just fantastic! I have a few favorite scenes. I definitely love ch. 24 – super intense and when Eammon tells Red everything that has happened to him and the other women who came before red. When he says, ” I’d let the world burn before I hurt you.” Ahhhh! That’s a great scene. I also love when he gives Red the new cloak. Plus, the whole situation with Neve and the people manipulating things with her was really interesting and suspenseful too. And the way the story ended! I can’t wait to see what happens next! Which scenes were your faves?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know…brooding heroes can be so hard to resist! I loved that you highlighted that quote in your review because it was one of my favorite quotes too! Swoon!! I definitely loved the embroidered cloak scene and how Eammon tries to come off a bit nonchalant about it, telling her she can get a plain one if she doesn’t like it but it’s obvious he put thought into the gift. It’s a sweet moment. The ending was great! That’s definitely what tipped the book over 4 star territory. Things happen pretty quickly but everything also starts to come together and then the ending happens.
        It’s a cliff hanger without being a cliff hanger. Sooo good. I’m excited for the next book too. It’s a whole friggin year! The wait will be so long…

        Liked by 1 person

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