It’s been a couple of weeks since I read For the Wolf, but I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s the Beauty and the Beast & Red Riding Hood -inspired mashup that I didn’t know I needed and has grown into my heart like a invasive vine.
For the Wolf features a medium-burn romance with a broody and misunderstood guy, sisters who would do anything for one another, and an enthralling & lush writing style. TL;DR this book has no business being this good and it now lives in my head rent-free.
About For the Wolf
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: June 1, 2021 | Pages: 448
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
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.
The author has provided a list of content warnings here.
🛏️ There’s only one bed
🖤 Broody love interest
🧑🤝🧑 Sibling relationship
🌿 Beautiful setting & writing
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✨ You can read an excerpt from For the Wolf here!
anxiety, potential aro/ace coded side character
self-harm for magic use (cutting), parental neglect/emotional abuse, mentions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia, anxiety/panic attacks, parental death, gore, mild audio/visual hallucinations, religious abuse, medium-heat romance (non-explicit)
My Review of For the Wolf
Honestly, words cannot express how much this book and its characters stole my heart. I found the book difficult to put down because I was so enthralled with every aspect of this book.
“I’d let the world burn before I hurt you.”
Beautifully written, I was transported into the world Whitten created. Fast-paced without a boring moment, I love how the narrative toes the line of purple prose without slowing the pace. But the book isn’t all action: there’s plenty of time for the characters to breathe, and I think I’d read a book of them doing nothing at all.
Each person is fully realized with their own motivations, and it was a treat to watch the characters interact with one another (and differently depending on their relationships). The fact that Red takes the time to pack her favorite books before heading into the woods to be sacrificed and that Eammon enjoys translation to pass the time are but two examples of little things about the characters that Whitten thought about.
“She could almost hear the forest breathe, hear it in the rustle of branches and the sliver of vines, and her skin prickled with the sense of being watched. This forest was alive, alive and sentient.”
There’s also this nightmare-fuel component to the woods themselves. The atmosphere is spooky with a hint of unease, keeping me on my toes while reading as I expected the absolute worst around every corner. The stakes felt high and that heightened my reading experience.
“The First Daughter is for the throne. The Second Daughter is for the Wolf. And the Wolves are for the Wilderwood.”
The dual perspectives highlights how the practices affect more than the Second Daughter sent into the Wilderwood. That sacrifice affects everyone and I like that For the Wolf isn’t centered solely on Red’s experience: this is still a story about the love between sisters and the lengths they’ll go to for one another.
“People with power resent losing it, and too much power for too long a time can make a villain of anyone.”
I love when books explore themes of religious control, especially when the religious beliefs and practices are part of the worldbuilding. It was incredibly satisfying to watch the myth come into focus with reality as Red tries to reconcile the truth with what everyone’s been told.
As a fan of sweeping worldbuilding, For the Wolf is an impressive feat that activates all of my curiosity. This world feels as real as the one we live in, and the themes of power, love, control transcend that fantastical setting.
Overall, For the Wolf has earned a spot on my coveted all-time favorites list and I don’t see me shutting up about this book anytime soon. Highly recommended for fans of sweeping fantasy worlds, a heroine who wants to do her part, and stories of love and sacrifice.
No two readers experience a book in the same way; this was mine, but what about you?
💬 Have you read For the Wolf yet? If so, what are your thoughts?
💬 Did I convince you to add this book to your TBR?
💬 What are your favorite fantasy stories with broody love interests? What should I add to my TBR?