Author: Jenny Elder Moke
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.
For the Wolf is an excellent retelling of The Little Red Riding Hood with a nice gothic-feel. There are a lot of elements from Beauty and Beast with a few Snow White ones toward the end. However, the entire tale still felt original. This was one of my most anticipated reads for the Spring and was an excellent start to the Wilderwood series. While I can sense where the series will go, I am not positive in my predictions, and I greatly enjoy that element of mystery. I cannot wait to read more about this excellent cast of characters.
The story begins with the two twin daughters, Redarys (“Red”), the second daughter, and Neve, the first daughter. Red is preparing for the ceremony that will officially send her into the Wilderwood as a sacrifice to the Wolf. Neve is trying to convince her that she can choose to run away, while Red is determined to see it through to the end.
The majority of the story follows Red’s perspective in the Wilderwood with some interlude chapters that showed life at home with Neve, Arick, and Raffe. Arick was very interesting as I never quite knew exactly where his character would end up by the end. In the beginning, he is in love with Red, but is promised to marry Neve. Although I did not like him from the beginning, he became a character that I loved to hate. Raffe was great, although he was not featured as much, but I liked the brief bits where he was featured. Neve’s love for her sister was greatly apparent and the driving force of her portion of the story. The sisterly bond was excellent and well-written and I would hope that my own sister would work hard to try and rescue me if we were in the same situation.
In the Wilderwood, we meet the Wolf, who turns out to be more a man named Eammon. Red expected to be killed right away and Eammon would be the enemy, but all is not quite as it seems. I absolutely loved Eammon and would not change anything about his character. His interactions with Red were well written and I loved the two of them together. However, Red on her own sometimes was a little too self-centered for me, but I still enjoyed her as a main character. Not only does Red get to know Eammon more, she begins to discover more secrets about the Wilderwood and her place within its borders. The Wilderwood itself becomes a complex character as there is a lot of history and mystery that needs to be revealed and explored. The magic system is very complex as some pieces are revealed, even towards the end, as there are multiple elements that make up the whole system.
The characters in this story were very interesting and I love how their personalities and actions transformed as the events took place. The pacing was slower at first as there is a lot of information about the sacrifice to the Wolf and the Wilderwood, then it picks up as Red ends the woods and finally meets Eammon. There were moments in the middle that dragged a little, for me, as I could have taken them out entirely and it would not have affected the story. They were still enjoyable, but just not needed, for me. The action picks up about three-quarters of the way through where the bulk of the drama takes place and the events for the sequel are set up. I absolutely cannot wait for next year as I eagerly anticipate the conclusion in For the Throne!
**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Orbit Books, for a review copy of this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**