I am delighted to share my review today for The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid. This is the first of the books I read in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.
This book is a fantasy that has a folk tale, fairy tale feel to it. Let me show you more…
A dark, evocative and unforgettable fantasy debut steeped in Hungarian history and Jewish mythology, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden.
‘Rooted in history and myth, The Wolf and the Woodsman is a stunning debut . . . It will twine like a dark forest around your heart.’Samantha Shannon, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
Stories don’t have to be true to be real…
In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.
But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman – he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.
As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.
I do like books that have elements of mythology and history in them. This one has Hungarian history and Jewish mythology woven into the story. I am not familiar with either, so I found a story that had a grown-up, or more adult style fairy tale feel to it.
Evike is a wolf girl but not like the others in her village. She does not have one of the magical abilities of the other though. This leads her to feel like an outcast or loner. She is bullied and not made to feel like she belongs. AS she doesn’t have the powers, she is not as valuable and therefore becomes the obvious choice to send to the King.
Gaspar is a woodsman, he is also the Kings son. He is another character who doesn’t really fit, he has mixed blood, and some see him as not being fit to be the next king.
Over the course of the story, the author gradually builds on her characters beliefs, thoughts and views. Being different or belonging to a different culture is something that is a strong theme in this story. Evike is a pagan and looked down upon. Gaspar is a follower of the Holy Order of Woodsmen. Their differences are shown, but they gradually become to understand each other. Bloodlines, faith, beliefs and cultures are something that the author has worked in so well. She shows different sides and viewpoints as well as extremes.
Being a book that deals with magical abilities, it puts this in a fantasy genre, but in some respects, it also falls into a coming of age for Evike. I was quite sad when I finished this book, I found it captivating as the two main characters travelled. Exciting as they met knew creatures and people. Addictive when it came to the dynamics and power struggles.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and it lived up to my expectations. I would definitely recommend it.
Many thanks for reading my post a alike or share would be amazing 🙂 xx