Do you like fairy tale-esque stories? What about dark fantasy? Slow-burn romance? If any of these pique your interest (or perhaps all of them?), I have a recommendation for you! For the Wolf is a darkly alluring atmospheric fantasy inspired by Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast.
When I saw the author mention ‘monster boyfriend’ in regards to this book, I was ready to strike a bargain with some ancient eldritch entity to get my hands on an ARC. Fortunately, Orbit Books was kind enough to send me a copy so I didn’t have to sell my soul! But would it have been worth it? Yes. What can I say? My achilles heels is a brooding monstery bf.
I can never get enough of Red Riding Hood inspired stories. It’s one of my favorite fairy tales. For the Wolf vividly brings to life a haunting, sentient forest where Red is sent to be sacrificed to the Wolf. She was a second daughter, bound to the forest, bound to the Wolf, bound to an ancient bargain. A life in exchange for protection from the shadowy creatures that lurk in those dark depths. A life to placate the Wolf to free the Five Kings. But once Red enters the Wilderwood, she learns that things aren’t as they seem.
The writing is so poetic and richly descriptive. I have plenty of passages flagged just from my appreciation for Whitten’s craftsmanship of the written word. A cursed forest, a ruined castle, an evil priestess—I loved the gothic atmosphere. I’ve come to enjoy slower paced books more in the last few years and this one definitely was a slow burn. It gave me a chance to fully savor everything, from the world building to the romance (a very sweet romance, might I add).
My favorite aspect of the story was the complexity of familial bonds. Red and Neve are sisters, but while Red was prepared to accept her fate of being sacrificed to the Wolf, Neve, who was destined for the throne, wasn’t going to lose her sister so easily. The dynamic was really compelling—examining the duality of two siblings bound by fate. This book did have one drawback for me and it was the confusing magic system. We get bits and pieces scattered throughout the story, so it didn’t feel very cohesive and at times I was left puzzled. I hope it will be more substantial in the next book. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the sequel.
If you like slow paced, darkly atmospheric fantasy with a brooding hero and a strong-willed heroine, then pick up For the Wolf!
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