[A quick note: I was THRILLED when Orbit reached out and offered me a publication copy a couple weeks before this beauty came out. I have had my eye on it for MONTHS because woodland settings are some of my favorite story settings. Uprooted is my favorite stand alone of all time, and this was marketed to be similar, so you know I was keen. And that cover!!! I mean LOOK at it.]
“𝗣𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘁, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗼𝗼 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗼𝗼 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗮 𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝗳𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲.”—Hannah Whitten
Red is born a second daughter to the crown, and that means by the age of twenty, she must submit herself to the Wilderwood and let it claim her. She can feel its dangerous magic in her core, humming, calling to her. What’s more, she wants it. She wants to escape the world and the danger she poses, even if those who love her are willing to do anything to keep her from it. She gives herself over to the Wolf. He can tell she’s different from the second daughters who’ve come before. Perhaps different enough to save them. But something dark stirs in the trees, and Red’s sacrifice might not be enough.
Among the Beasts and Briars meets Beauty and the Beast in this tale of one woman’s sacrifice to the Wilderwood. I was intrigued from the first page. This story is best described as a dark fairytale. An enchanted wood, an evil that threatens to consume it, and a dash of romance, all crafted on the backbone of a Beauty and the Beast storyline. There’s even a hint of Little Red Ridinghood, but nothing like the story you’re used to.
This was a fun read! Not quite what I expected, but still fun. It follows three main characters, Neve, Red, and the Wolf. Each was unique, well crafted, and imperfect. I loved their struggles and the twin sisterhood bond between Neve and Red. However, Neve’s character frustrated me …a lot. Mainly because Red asked Neve to let her go, for reasons that Neve didn’t understand, and Neve wouldn’t accept that. It was Neve’s meddling that put Red in so much danger once she entered the forest. I understand why Neve did it, but it still irked me.
I adore woodland settings, especially with enchanted woods and a threat of evil. The Wilderwood had a mind of its own, and the darkness threatening to destroy it was ominous. Where did the darkness come from, you might wonder? Well, that’s up for contention. The people of Valleyda believe the wood itself is inherently evil. It is said that the Wilderwood trapped five kings within, and that only the sacrifice of a second daughter can free them. But every legend has two sides. And this one might not be the correct one.
Red enters the Wilderwood hoping she is worthy enough to free the kings. Hoping that her sacrifice will matter. While three previous second daughters were sacrificed long before Red’s time, something in her makes her different. I loved the way she and the Wolf were forced to work together to protect the wood, but eventually, even that wasn’t enough. She was forced to discover what the difference was between her and the other second daughters. And eventually come to understand the power of choice. Once that happened, she was forced to MAKE her own choice.
“𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗼𝘁𝘀…𝗜 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘄𝗮𝘆, 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗪𝗼𝗹𝗳, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱.”—Hannah Whitten
While the romance and plot was slow in starting, I loved Red and the Wolf’s dynamic once it did. I appreciated the way Red fought for the Wolf. She didn’t simply back down each time he asked her to. She wasn’t willing to let him suffer for her sake.
“𝗦𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗯 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗸 𝗯𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗶𝗻 𝗩𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘆𝗱𝗮. 𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗸𝘆 𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗵, 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝗳𝘁 𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗮 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗮 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗸. 𝗔𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘀𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝗸𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝘁—𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀—𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗮 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗸 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲, 𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿. 𝗦𝗵𝗲 𝗸𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘀, 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝘆𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀.”—Hannah Whitten
While this was a bit more YA than adult, it was a lovely read. It ends on a little bit of a cliff hanger. So I’ll definitely be picking up the next book “For the Throne” when it comes out. Can’t wait to see what happens. I’d say this story will be perfect for anyone who loves the Beauty and the Beast storyline, dark woodland settings, sister bonds, and strong female MCs. 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟰/𝟱⭐️
A big thank you to Orbit for providing me a publication copy in advance for an honest review.