Published: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Series: Wilderwood #1
Pages: 448 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I assumed this book would be a Little Red Riding Hood retelling based on the synopsis and cover, but (blessedly) it wasn’t! I’m getting a bit sick of retellings of classic fairytales, but I admit I fall prey to temptation sometimes. For the Wolf is only in the loosest sense inspired by a classic fairytale and that’s mostly based on generic symbolism and naming.
Redarys is the Second Daughter and as such, she is destined to be sacrificed to the Wolf of the Wilderwood. Red has long ago accepted her fate, if only to protect those dear to her from the burgeoning and deadly magic she carries, so when she turns twenty she gladly readies herself to meet the Wolf. Her twin sister Neverah is less eager to let her sister go and even once Red has gone to the wood, Neve plots to find a way to free her. Red isn’t quite as imprisoned as Neve thinks though, for the Wolf is just a man with an unasked for duty that he must carry out. He is linked to the Wilderwood and struggles to keep the sentinel trees intact and keep the real monsters at bay. Neve’s efforts to free her sister only cause more trouble and reveal the the Five Sleeping Kings are trapped beyond the Wilderwood for a reason. Spoiler alert – it’s not because they were kind and just rulers either.
I liked that we got POVs of both Red and Neve, given that both are in such different environments and dealing with interesting problems of their own. Neve is trying at all costs to find a way to save her beloved sister without realizing her efforts are hurting her instead. Neve’s desperation leads her to a sect of their religion that is trying to destroy the Wilderwood to free the Kings. Red on the other hand is learning to protect the Wilderwood and getting to know the strange folk that dwell there, for she isn’t the only one to owe a debt. The Wolf is not some fearsome man of legend, but rather a man desperate to fulfill his duty even if that means pushing himself over the edge. I loved the characters, even Neve when she was so clearly being manipulated that it hurt me to read (how could she not see it?). Once I picked it up I was thoroughly engrossed and invested!
I really enjoyed For the Wolf and will now be impatiently awaiting it’s sequel, For the Throne so I can find out what happens next! I expect much doom to be unleashed upon the lands, many gloriously sweet romantic bits, and SUCH TENSION. This might be a new favorite series!