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.
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.
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.
- The love story.
- The sister relationship.
- The gothic atmosphere.
- Basically, everything. I loved the story!
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.
This is a great story for readers who like dark, atmospheric fairy tale reimaginings with interesting characters and messages and a slow-building romance.