About the Book:
Title: A Far Wilder Magic
Author: Allison Saft
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive tht long. In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.
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The more dangerous the monster, the more glorious the hero who slays it.
I absolutely loved A Far Wilder Magic! Saft has created a suspenseful, original, and compelling story that captivated me from the first page. If I’m being honest, as soon as I saw the cover and the author, I knew I wanted to read A Far Wilder Magic. The cover is gorgeous, and I loved Saft’s debut novel Down Comes the Night. After this read, Saft is most definitely an auto-buy author for me. It is contemporary Gothic literature at its finest!
Much of the story revolves around a hunt that Margaret Welty, a skilled archer, wants to participate in. When Margaret sees one of the last mystical creatures in the world, she knows that it will be hunted in the Half Moon Hunt. Determined to enter the competition, she tries to convince Weston Winters, a young man who has come to receive alchemy training from Margaret’s absent mother, to enter the hunt with her. Both enter for different reasons, and both are determined to win, no matter what their religion and personal beliefs are. The pair grows closer, and as they prepare for the hunt, they realize that dark magic might help them succeed. However, they have to survive the dangerous hunt first.
Victory means nothing if it isn’t hard-won.
Saft’s use of imagery, symbols, and personification are exceptional, and I love the rich, atmospheric, and Gothic feel of the story. When I think of Gothic literature, I think of haunted settings that are dark, ominous, and often relate to the mood of the story, supernatural or paranormal elements, heightened emotions, a touch of romance, an anti-hero, and a damsel in distress who is emotionally or physically trapped. A Far Wilder Magic has all of this and more.
Rife with romance, suspense, myth, and magic, the setting has a bleak greyness that instills a feeling of mystery and foreboding. Margaret’s house, which is desolate and almost a character in itself, has a haunted, abandoned feel to it. Filled with the memories of Margaret’s past, it is a shell of a home, and Margaret’s emotional ties to it trap her there. Margaret’s flashbacks and nostalgia for better times also add to the eeriness and Gothic feel, as do the supernatural elements, mythical creatures, alchemy, family secrets, intense encounters with antagonistic peers, religious prejudices, and more.
There are so many interesting and dynamically developed characters in the story, especially Wes and Margaret. Wes is a young man that is determined to make a difference and prove his worth. He has a wonderful outlook on life and doesn’t let doubt and other people’s negativity stand in his way. Wes is so charming and authentic, and I love how he slowly grows on Margaret. Margaret puts a new spin on the classic Gothic damsel in distress. Though she is isolated and abandoned by family and bullied and mistreated by peers, she is also strong and brave. A fighter and a survivor, Margaret is lonely and longs for connection but is also wary of being vulnerable and opening herself up to others. There is a fierceness to Margaret that I love and a tenderness and vulnerability that is moving.
To help one person is to help better the entire world.
The point of view switches between Wes and Margaret throughout the story, which I like. Margaret and Wes are both compelling characters, as different as they are alike. Wes is from the city, and Margaret is from the country. Wes has a larger family, and Margaret is alone. Margaret depends on herself, and Wes has many depending on him. Wes is charming and social, and he knows how to win people over. Margaret is much more solitary and introverted, and she struggles to form connections with others. They share similar feelings of loneliness, entrapment, and ostracization, even though their circumstances are quite different. The dual perspectives throughout the story highlight these similarities and differences and create wonderfully rich and well-developed protagonists.
The love story between Margaret and Wes is slow-building and wonderful. There are some incredibly swoon-worthy moments in the story, and I love how their relationship slowly builds over time. Both are overwhelmed by their unexpected feelings, and neither relishes the idea of being vulnerable. Both have put up some major walls, and it’s lovely to see these two people with such complicated lives slowly break those walls down and find comfort, strength, safety, and trust in each other. I love relationships that start begrudgingly and gradually build into something more. The relationship between Margaret and Wes is layered and strong, and the myriad of feelings that each goes through while their relationship evolves is so well done.
When she looks like this, flushed and hazy and haloed by the moon, he truly can believe God exists, and her name is Margaret Welty.
The is a fantastic novel that I would recommend to readers who like intriguing YA fantasy with exceptional writing, dynamic characters, strong Gothic elements, and a slow-building romance. The story also has memorable and relatable themes, including duty versus desire, religious persecution and prejudice, making a difference, knowing one’s worth, and more. Saft’s writing immerses the reader into vivid and captivating worlds that I love to get lost in and introduces characters that I love to root for. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Wednesday Books, and Allison Saft for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I can’t wait to read more by this brilliant author!
- The romance!
- The Gothic elements.
- The deft character development.
Girls like her don’t get to dream. Girls like her get to survive. Most days, that’s enough. Today, she doesn’t think it is.
No one knows how to hurt you if you always play the fool. No one can truly be disappointed in you if they don’t expect any better.
She can’t keep making coals of her anger and swallowing them whole.
There’s nothing anyone could say that’d make me treat someone the way he treats you.
There’s nothing for them to tell each other that they don’t already know. He sees it in her eyes. He’s tasted it on her lips. She writes it on his skin every time she touches him. But in all his mother’s legends, there is binding power in words., and Wes doesn’t want to die without his soul entwined with hers.