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.
Hi and welcome to my review of For the Wolf!
Once upon a time, in a queendom far far away, twin girls were born, the first just a little bit earlier than the second, their fates set in stone from the second they first drew breath: the first daughter would be for the Throne, the second for the Wolf.
In this queendom, legends speak of long lost Kings, now revered like Gods, held captive by the Wolf in the Wilderwood, only to be released if and when a Second Daughter breaks the curse, if and when her sacrifice pleases the Wolf, satisfying his bloodthirst.
And so, upon her twentieth birthday, Redarys – Red – the Second Daughter, receives the Mark of the Wilderwood, feels the pull of the Wolf and sets off to fulfil her duty and her destiny, just like she has always known she would. Her sister, her friend and her lover are all plotting to keep her away from the forest, but Red is not entirely sad to go. She feels magic running through her veins, magic that she can’t control and it terrifies her. Part of her is happy to surrender to the Wolf, knowing her loved ones are safe.
The thing about legends and stories and fairy tales, though? They’re only a figment of man’s imagination, as Red soon finds out. The Wilderwood is more alive than she ever suspected and it’s baying for her blood. The Wolf, on the other hand, is not.
The Wilderwood is a living breathing thing, which, in a way I guess, is exactly what forests are, but this one takes it up a notch or two. First Red, then the Wolf, and eventually the Wilderwood, I found myself rooting for them to get their happily ever after.
I did feel For the Wolf made me work for it a little, there was insta-interest, but no insta-love. However, a book that grows on you, makes you take your rating up steadily from 3 to a whopping 5 is infinitely better than one you fall in love with on page 1 only to feel your love peter out towards the ending. Water under the bridge: I ended up loving it and I can’t wait for the sequel.
For the Wolf is a richly drawn and pitch-black fantasy that stays true to the original, rather bloody nature of fairy tales. Taking elements from fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White (and quite possibly a few others I missed), Hannah Whitten spins a wholly new fairy tale, shiny, black and deadly like an obsidian blade and firmly leaving anything remotely Disney at the door.
If dark, fairy tale inspired fantasy is right up your street, then do check out For the Wolf!
For the Wolf is out on the first of June in digital formats, audio and paperback.
Huge thanks to Orbit for the gorgeous proof! All opinions are still my own.