Goodreads: For the Wolf
Series: Wilderwood #1
Age Category: Adult
Published: June 1, 2021
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.
Reading For the Wolf was a bit of a letdown because most readers seem to have been raving about it since its release in June 2021; it was also nominated for 2021 Goodreads Choice Award. However, I found the book repetitive and don’t think it offered much of a new take on a old tale.
For the Wolf is essentially a “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, set in a magical woods and more enmeshed with the larger-scale politics of the surrounding kingdom than a lot of fairy tale retellings. Normally I love reading “Beauty and the Beast” books, but because it’s a common tale to base a retelling on and because I’ve read a large number of variations on the story, it’s often hard for me to think that any of them stand out. For the Wolf simply . . . doesn’t.
One of its main points seem to be the ~atmospheric~ setting of the magical, dangerous, sentient forest, but I have to say a lot of books that center themselves on having an atmospheric woodsy vibe also sound the same to me. The reader goes on about trees (often in a nonspecific way that doesn’t convince me they truly know that much about trees) and the oppressive, mysterious feeling of the trees, and the characters walk around the trees and discuss their fear of trees and . . . it kind of gets monotonous. That’s even truer in For the Wolf, which has some truly repetitive prose. I think it was supposed to add to the character of the book and really get readers into the minds of the main character, but it was odd feeling like I was reading a passage for the fourth or fifth time in the book.
That said, I didn’t think For the Wolf was terrible or anything. It’s a pretty solid “Beauty and the Beast” retelling with some mystery and romance, and the author works hard to add in the political, historical, and religious aspects that are meant to differentiate it from other retellings. I do wonder if those things will come more to the front in the sequel (which I am not planning to read). A lot of people love this book, and I can kind of seem why, but to me it just felt long and like dozens of other books I read before.