Book Review: The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

Hi Blisses,

TITLE: The Will and the Wilds
BY: Charlie N. Holmberg
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Retelling
PUBLICATION: January 21st, 2020 by 47North
NOTES: POPSUGAR Reading Challenge / AtoZ Reading Challenge


“What is a soul if not an extension of the heart?”

― Charlie N. Holmberg, The Will and the Wilds

I wasn’t planning on reviewing The Will and the Wilds because I didn’t really like it that much, but I’ve written some notes while reading it so it would be a waste not to put them in use.

The Will and the Wilds is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but sets in an entirely different realm. The heroine, Enna, lives with her father near wildwood, where mystings are said to roam. Mystings are a version of fae who are dangerous and there are different kinds of them as well. One day, Enna was attacked by one of them, a Gobbler, who is after an enchanted stone she possesses.

“Monsters are only ever fascinating from afar.”

— Charlie N. Holmberg ( The Will and the Wilds )

After the attack, Enna was forced to summon and strikes a deal with a mysting to help her take out the threat of her attackers. Enter Maekallus, a mysting of a Narval kind and who looks human except for his horns and feet. But their deal went awry leaving Maekallus stuck in the mortal realm where mystings shouldn’t stay for long. With a bit of trickery, he made Enna give her a kiss, along with it, a part of her soul to keep him alive. Then Enna and Maekallus teamed up finding a way to end the bargain that’s connecting the two of them.

As a Beauty and the Beast retelling, The Will and the Wilds is definitely a refreshing concept. Sure, I found some of the elements are close to the original but most are entirely products of the author’s imagination. I think it’s brilliant to make Enna a writer and a self-appointed researcher of the mystings rather than a reader. And the idea of the mystings are fascinating.

Enna fears them, and she must, but her fascination to them can’t be denied as well. And I found her fascination contagious because I also found myself fascinated by the mystings. I love reading and learning about them, and I liked that in the beginning of each chapter, there’s a bit of information about mystings, or different kinds of mystings. The author also succeeded at painting this fictional world in my mind so clearly. I can picture the wildwood, the Deep (Mysting’s realm) and it’s definitely easy to picture each kind of mysting that appeared in the story.

Even though The Will and the Wilds is a standalone, I won’t be surprised if the author ends up doing more books set in this fictional world. Besides it would be a waste if she doesn’t. It has such an amazing world.

As for the main characters, I think Maekallus and Enna are both interesting enough individually, and obviously, together they are more interesting. Or should be more interesting. I love star-crossed lovers and a forbidden love. But the romance aspect isn’t really my favorite element in the story. I find the interactions between Enna and Mikallus a little bland. I didn’t feel the tension, and didn’t see any sparks between the two of them. Sure, there are lines and scenes that indicated that there’s romantic tension building between them but I didn’t really feel it. In fact, for me, the development of the romance is almost non-existent.

Maybe it has something to do with the flow of the story. The pace isn’t really slow, nor is it fast but I never felt excited or eagerly waiting for the next thing to happen. And that last battle is so underwhelming. In fact, I won’t call it a battle.


Don’t get me wrong The Will and the Wilds isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read – my 3.5 star rating is a proof of that – but apart from the setting, I find it a bit bland.

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

  1. I recently read this too, and let me just say I’m an idiot for never having noticed its retelling of Beauty and the Beast lol. Definitely agree with you on that last battle, Holmberg constructs such an eerie, fantastical world of monsters, with a vicious ruler at its center, and then we get 2 seconds of such ruler, and he’s easily defeated…It was underwhelming!
    Awesome review 🙂


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