TITLE: For the Wolf
BY: Hannah Whitten
SERIES: Wilderwood #1
GENRES: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
PUBLICATION: June 1st 2021 by Orbit Books
TRIGGERS: Anxiety and panic attacks, Gore, Self-harm for magic use, parent emotional abuse
The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.
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 title and blurb of For the Wolf scream Little Red Riding Hood but it is actually more Beauty and the Beast than Little Red Riding Hood. Red and the Wolf might be from LRRH fairy tale but everything else in the story is from BatB – the forest, the trees, and the vines, the castle (the Keep), the library, the mirror, and even the cursed beast. Which makes this retelling even more appealing to me because I loved BatB the most among the fairy tales I know.
For the Wolf features a tale as old as time indeed. The plot is cemented to century-old dealings between kings and magical creatures in Wilderwood, and later, to the captivity of the said kings. Right from the beginning of the story, with Red’s preparation as a sacrifice, it is easy to tell that the legends she knew aren’t accurate. Everything is vague and mysterious and I love that. I love stories that are filled with secrets, just waiting to be discovered by me, the reader, along with the main characters. Some parts of the story are easy to predict, like the things about the Wolf. Not only because it was already stated in the blurb that he is more of a human than a monster. Aside from that, there are lots of things about the Wolf that are easy to predict. I know exactly who he’s going to be to Red. Like I said, this is a BatB retelling, so go figure. There is even one thing that involves the Wolf and Red that I guessed right from the start. But that doesn’t mean, I didn’t enjoy reading the story. Despite having predictable parts, For the Wolf still has lots to offer to the readers and yes, it’s not perfect, but I was glued to my Kindle till the end. I wanted to know what will happen to Red and Wolf’s story, which is also a love story. Of course, it is. 🙂
I love Red. I admire her strengths and principle. I was on her side with her real reason for going to the forest. She did it because she had no choice, it’s the only thing that she thought she could do for the greater good. I think it’s nice that the author didn’t just force Red to go with the flow, being a sacrifice because it was what she was born to do. I’m glad that the author gave Red another reason to go to the forest. That spoke a lot about Red’s character. She’s defiant but willing to risk her life for the people she loves. She has fears but never lets them control her. I loved how determined she was to help the Wolf because it’s what needed to be done, and not only because, you know, she’s beginning to fall for him. I love how she doesn’t just say yes to what the Wolf says, even though normally she should’ve because the Wolf knows more about Wilderwood than her. She always has something to say and I admire that because it’s her life, and she shouldn’t be told how to live it. Aside from those qualities, Red loves to read. It’s another thing that makes this one a retelling of BatB, because Red is like Belle. There are even scenes in the library. I love the first scene in the library with the Wolf. 🙂
As for the Wolf, I was so excited to meet him right from the beginning. I knew he wasn’t what the legend says. Also, I’m sorry I can’t say his name because it would be a spoiler. The legends say he’s Ciarran and I would leave it at that. The Wolf didn’t surprise me as much as I wanted him to. But that’s okay, I still liked him. I found him very noble and heroic. His dedication to his duty is top-notched, and I felt for him at the final battle. I just hoped he has his own POV in the story as well. It would’ve been nice to read what going on in his mind.
Instead, aside from Red’s POV, I get POVs from Neve, Red’s older sister and the one that is For the Throne. That’s also the title of the second book in the series and will feature Neve’s story. I’m not sure if I liked Neve, to be honest. I was so tempted to skip her POVs every time. Though I can say, she’s a great character and very well-written. What happened to her by the end of the story is really intriguing and that made me excited for the next book. There are several characters in the book that also need to be mentioned. There were Raffe and Arrick, both were vital to the story and Raffe will definitely show up in the next book. There were Fife and Lyra as well. Though I think these characters were not very fleshed out. Same with the antagonists in the book, who I’m not going to mention because it would be spoilers. Because one of them didn’t seem to be an antagonist until halfway to the story. The top villain’s identity wasn’t even established until the last quarter of the book. The name was already mentioned throughout the book but not really as a villain and only showed up later in the story.
I love the world-building, it is one of the best parts of the story. The fictional world that the author created is very well-constructed. It’s very rich and beautiful. And the backstories, the histories, the legends – I love them all. I even liked all the reveals and the twists that came along those histories. In fact, despite the danger in Wilderwood, I want to stay there. I want to stay at the Keep, for sure. But then again, the ending showed a new face of Wilderwood, and now, I’m not sure what it is anymore. That just made it more interesting though.
I must say that my main problem in the book is the pacing. At times, it’s really good and suspenseful but most often, it’s very slow. Also sometimes, I feel like the writing is too purple. There are also instances that the narrative seemed to be telling rather than showing and at times, it even info-dump. Which, I guess, wasn’t surprising because a big part of the story is a legend that has many secrets.
RATING: 3.5 blissful pages with lilies
For the Wolf is not perfect but I love its characters and the concept. I can’t wait for the next book and revisit the world of Wilderwood and the surrounding kingdoms. And that is saying a lot, because like I said, I wasn’t sure if I liked Neve, who is the heroine of the next book. Also, I think Neve’s story would be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. I hope I’m right.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah Whitten has been writing to amuse herself since she could hold a pen, and sometime in high school, figured out that what amused her might also amuse others. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, making music, or attempting to bake. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and children in a house ruled by a temperamental cat.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.