For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten

Themes: YA fantasy, retelling, fairy tales

The synopsis

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 review

One of my favourite types of books is retellings. For the Wolf is a mix of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast, in a darker style. Red is the second daughter and is destined to go in the Wilderwook to satisfy a bargain made with the Wolf centuries ago. But beyond this reason, she wants to go in order to protect her sister from her magic. It’s a wonderful story of the love between the two sisters and I even preferred this relationship to the romantic one. Both sisters are courageous, resolute without being rash in their actions, which is a change from the usual YA heroine! All the characters in this book have a story to tell, even the antagonists. I liked how the fairytale was linked to a religion, showing the decisions people can make in name of it and making the world go beyond the simple castle + wood fairytale setting.

The writing of the author is beautiful, very fairytale-like but in a bloodier way. It really builds a particular atmosphere with a kingdom stuck in winter and a forest very creepy, that is thirsty for blood. There is quite a lot of action and I had the feeling of reading two books in one since it begins with Neve’s quest to get her sister back while Red is acclimating to the forest, and then the contrary, which is introducing the sequel. This two points-of-view narration is what makes the book so gripping since it really builds the relationship between the sisters. All these events added to the different narrators could be confusing but the transitions are really fluid, and the author is perfectly closing the first plot before beginning the second one.

The only comment I could make and which justifies my rating is the middle of the book which is slower than the rest of the book. I felt it was a bit repetitive but also needed to unravel the last mysteries about the Wolf and the woods, answering all of our questions and Red’s ones.

In brief: a dark fairytale retelling perfect for winter. You don’t have the time to get annoyed with the plot and end the book wondering what will happen in the next one ๐Ÿ˜€

My rating: 4/5

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