web site hit counter The Wolf and the Woodsman - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Wolf and the Woodsman

Availability: Ready to download

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is be In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. 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. In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.


Compare

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is be In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. 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. In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

30 review for The Wolf and the Woodsman

  1. 4 out of 5

    chai ♡

    First of all, you cannot liken this book to both Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale and not expect me to go unfathomably unhinged First of all, you cannot liken this book to both Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale and not expect me to go unfathomably unhinged

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alix Harrow

    this book. has everything?? a nuanced and brutal view of the violence of nation-building and the complexities of cultural identity, AND ALSO a prideful, tortured prince brought to his knees--his 𝓴𝓷𝓮𝓮𝓼--by his doomed and fragile love-- it has the unsettling-but-compelling gore of henderson's The Year of the Witching, the folkloric lilt of The Bear and the Nightingale, and the moral complexity of Seeing Like a State. i'm......obsessed. this book. has everything?? a nuanced and brutal view of the violence of nation-building and the complexities of cultural identity, AND ALSO a prideful, tortured prince brought to his knees--his 𝓴𝓷𝓮𝓮𝓼--by his doomed and fragile love-- it has the unsettling-but-compelling gore of henderson's The Year of the Witching, the folkloric lilt of The Bear and the Nightingale, and the moral complexity of Seeing Like a State. i'm......obsessed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    an adult inspired fairy tale-esque book ??!! GIVE IT TO MEEEEEE!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cait (Caitsbooks)

    Check out this review (and more) over on my blog! Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Quick Stats: Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 4.5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: It’s official. I’m adding this book to my "books I will not shut up about" list. // Content Warning: Violence, Death, Mature Content, Self Harm (for Magic/Religion), Child Abuse, Abuse, Animal Death, War Them Check out this review (and more) over on my blog! Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Quick Stats: Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 4.5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: It’s official. I’m adding this book to my "books I will not shut up about" list. // Content Warning: Violence, Death, Mature Content, Self Harm (for Magic/Religion), Child Abuse, Abuse, Animal Death, War Themes, Murder, Gore (Graphic), Amputation, Torture, Antisemitism, Cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing // Release Date: 6/8/2021 Publisher: Harper Voyager Page Count: 432 Premise: The Wolf and the Woodsman follows Evike, a magic-less pagan woman with a Yehuli father, making her an outcast in her village. When the Holy Order of the Woodsman comes to take a pagan girl as a sacrifice, her village betrays her and volunteers her to be taken. But, on the journey to the palace, she and the Woodsmen are attacked, leaving only her and the captain alive. But he isn’t who she originally thought. The two of them are forced to rely on each other to survive, but as they journey together, they realize they do have something in common: their desire to prevent the cruel prince from taking the throne. This book is amazing, and because of that, my thoughts about it are fairly chaotic. So, we’re going to ignore my normal reviewing format in favor of trying to string together these rambling thoughts. The Wolf and the Woodsman is a fantastic debut and an absolutely captivating story. If you want: - enemies to lovers - huddling for warmth - ruthless protagonist, secret cinnamon roll love interest - intricate worldbuilding - forbidden love then you need to read this book. The Wolf and the Woodsman is stunning. You can tell the amount of research and thought that went into crafting this world and these characters. The different cultures in the book have clear real-world influence, from Hungarian history to Jewish mythology (I'm not an ownvoices reviewer, so I would highly suggest reading ownvoices reviews discussing those aspects of this book). This novel feels atmospheric and dark, showing a brutal world full of violence and gore, but still had moments for hope and love inside of it. The relationship in this book was beautiful, and the two main characters on their own were incredible and will stick with you long after you close the book. - Conclusion - Pros- Great characters, fascinating world, amazing writing Cons- if you aren’t a fan of gore, this might be a hard read for you (I usually don’t care either way about gore, so this didn’t really bother me) Overall- 5/5 stars. I loved every minute I spent reading this book, and I can't wait for more people to experience it. Follow Me Here: Blog ||Tumblr || Bookstagram || Twitter|| Reviews

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)

    I received a copy of this book to review. This in no way changes my opinion of the book. Rated 4.5/5 stars! This is the kind of story that seeps into your very bones. It's both haunting and beautiful, brutal and magical. It's so many contradictions in one, and yet it all just works. The mythology is so prominent within the story, and you can really feel the atmosphere seeping into your skin as you're pulled in. This isn't a story for the faint hearted - while seemingly whimsical with its magic an I received a copy of this book to review. This in no way changes my opinion of the book. Rated 4.5/5 stars! This is the kind of story that seeps into your very bones. It's both haunting and beautiful, brutal and magical. It's so many contradictions in one, and yet it all just works. The mythology is so prominent within the story, and you can really feel the atmosphere seeping into your skin as you're pulled in. This isn't a story for the faint hearted - while seemingly whimsical with its magic and romance, everything comes with a sharp edge. There are some gory scenes peppered throughout, the cause of each scene being so inherently interwoven into the story that it's not something to skip over. And you wouldn't want to - it's all part of the story. But amongst that, you have a main character you can't help but love. Not in an endearing-automatic-adoration way. But in the way where you see the faults, the quiet fierceness, the determination, and can't help but admire her as she makes her way through the world and everything it throws at her. I adored reading about Evike, and she's not a character that will be easily forgotten. Will also note that the audiobook for this book is wonderful, the tone of the narrators voice seeming to match Evike's perspective so well. The direct way of speaking, while also acknowledging such magic and emotion through the story...they really brought the story to life audibly. Also a massive help for anyone wanting to work on pronunciations (note - there's a guide in the back too). I actually already want to reread this one, convinced there is so much more to find within that just went over my head. In fact, I know there is, based on other reviews and from what the author has said themselves. But I can tell this is one to marvel at, while being entertaining all in one. I really loved it, and can't wait to see what else Ava Reid has to write in the future!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ava Reid

    Since ARCs of my book are beginning to enter the world (and I am henceforth banning myself from Goodreads, which is a space for readers, not authors), I thought it would be a good time to provide some grounding and content warnings for THE WOLF & THE WOODSMAN. I've pitched this book as having a "magic system based on body horror," which is I think apt - and so, naturally, there are a lot of graphic, on-the-page depictions of gore. (I've listed out the various iterations of that below). I think i Since ARCs of my book are beginning to enter the world (and I am henceforth banning myself from Goodreads, which is a space for readers, not authors), I thought it would be a good time to provide some grounding and content warnings for THE WOLF & THE WOODSMAN. I've pitched this book as having a "magic system based on body horror," which is I think apt - and so, naturally, there are a lot of graphic, on-the-page depictions of gore. (I've listed out the various iterations of that below). I think it's also worth noting that this is fundamentally a book about nation-building, which I depict as a violent process that requires constant, aggressive forms of propaganda (aka, fairytales) in order to maintain. Religious persecution, cultural genocide, and ethnic cleansing are at the core of this book. My aim is, obviously, not endorsement, but rather a realistic representation of the oppression and marginalization experienced by ethnoreligious minorities. I am anticipating that some will categorize this book as grimdark, though I'm ambivalent to that descriptor myself. TL;DR: Gore and genocide abound. Also, this book is not YA; it is adult. Take care of yourselves, and stay safe! Content warnings: (view spoiler)[- Gore, including graphic descriptions of dismemberment, amputation, mutilation, and immolation - Torture, including whipping - Self-harm, including self-amputation - Animal death (graphic; the animals are not pets) - Antisemitism - Cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing - Physical abuse by parents and parental figures - Graphic descriptions of vomiting (hide spoiler)]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Shannon

    I absolutely loved this – my favourite book of 2021 so far, which has shot straight to my list of all-time favourites. Ava Reid paints a rich and complex picture of a kingdom steeped in ancient magic, straining along seams of religious and cultural tension. From the first page to the last, every facet and detail is beautifully wrought. Rooted in history and myth, The Wolf and the Woodsman is a stunning debut – a powerful and haunting tale of a young woman’s will to live, of love flowering in I absolutely loved this – my favourite book of 2021 so far, which has shot straight to my list of all-time favourites. Ava Reid paints a rich and complex picture of a kingdom steeped in ancient magic, straining along seams of religious and cultural tension. From the first page to the last, every facet and detail is beautifully wrought. Rooted in history and myth, The Wolf and the Woodsman is a stunning debut – a powerful and haunting tale of a young woman’s will to live, of love flowering in defiance of tyranny. Every single facet and detail, from the first page to the last, is so beautifully wrought, from the lyrical descriptions of nature to the tortured, slow-burn romance. It will twine like a dark forest around your heart.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    a beautifully wrought and surprisingly romantic tale that is rich with real-life political allusions. rtc! > 4 stars * why yes, I am absolutely obsessed with the fact that so many dark woodsy books with wolf in the title seem to be coming out in 2021!! okay fine maybe it's like . . . 2 books . . . this one and For the Wolf a note: a lot of people are marking this as YA but it's actually adult pals <3 just a heads up thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for a review! a beautifully wrought and surprisingly romantic tale that is rich with real-life political allusions. rtc! > 4 stars * why yes, I am absolutely obsessed with the fact that so many dark woodsy books with wolf in the title seem to be coming out in 2021!! okay fine maybe it's like . . . 2 books . . . this one and For the Wolf a note: a lot of people are marking this as YA but it's actually adult pals <3 just a heads up thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for a review!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    I am so, so in love. If you stare long enough into the darkness of the forest, eventually something will stare right back. CW : (view spoiler)[dismemberment, amputation, mutilation, whipping, self-harm, antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, physical abuse by parental figures/parents, vomiting, animal death, torture. (hide spoiler)] Above everything, The Wolf and the Woodsman is about the power of stories , how they shape and mold us — how they can soothe us and yet pierce our h I am so, so in love. If you stare long enough into the darkness of the forest, eventually something will stare right back. CW : (view spoiler)[dismemberment, amputation, mutilation, whipping, self-harm, antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, physical abuse by parental figures/parents, vomiting, animal death, torture. (hide spoiler)] Above everything, The Wolf and the Woodsman is about the power of stories , how they shape and mold us — how they can soothe us and yet pierce our hearts all the same, how they're both used as balms and propaganda. So many myths and tales inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology are entwined into Évike and Gáspár's journey — it's no secret that the path to my heart is through them, and I loved nothing more than discovering this new-to-me folklore. Ava Reid's words lulled me until the real world disappeared — they reached into my soul and tugged . I would recommend this novel for these stories alone — but they're only one of its numerous appeals. But The Wolf and the Woodsman is also very much about trauma , both personal and generational; about oppression, persecution and ethnic cleansing — about survival through it all. It's graphically violent at times — I mean, Ava Reid said that she pitched this book as having a "magic system based on body horror," and it doesn't shy away from gore — but perhaps the scenes that affected me the most were the ones that alluded to the pain one feels when belonging somewhere doesn't seem to be an option. How to build oneself when rejection is waiting everywhere, when colonization and war work hand in hand with the aim of erasing your roots and heritage? As a biracial woman whose family stories were forever lost in violence and heartache, I've been asking this question to myself for a very long time, and it cut deeply in me in a way I didn't know was possible. Maybe that's why seeing Évike take back both her Yehuli and pagan heritages meant the world to me. If the parallels with Jewish history are obvious, and heartbreaking, I appreciated the anti-zionist message and the way religion was handled, too. We kept no mirrors in Keszi, but I would spend hours kneeling at the riverside, watching my reflection crease and wrinkle like it was an embroidery on silk, puzzling over whether my nose belonged to my mother or my father, and what it would mean either way. There was no answer that didn’t hurt to swallow. I almost tell him that, before I remember that he’s no friend of mine. Served with compelling writing and lush imagery — the scenic quality is wonderful, and the settings a living thing in more ways than one — The Wolf and the Woodsman pictures characters I'll always keep close to my heart and whose slow growth was fantastic. Raised in a place that holds magic above everything, Évike thrives to belong somewhere. Despite all the bullying she faced her whole life, she's so fierce and strong — I love her so, so much. The way she grows into herself and flourishes throughout the novel appeased a secret place of my heart and I will never forget her. “I don’t think the hawk is evil,” Gáspár says after a moment. “But I’m not a mouse.” “And thank Isten you aren’t,” I say. “Mice don’t have the luxury of passing moral judgment on every living thing they come across. Mice just get eaten.” Gáspár's gentle, tortured soul carved a place into my heart and I felt so much for him. He's gone through his fair share of bullying and if his title of prince acts as a smoke screen at first it's obvious that he craves love just as much as Évike. No matter how he tries at times, he can never hide how very soft he is. My god. Their romance is fraught with many hurdles and I adored it to pieces : their banter is a delight, they're so stubborn, yet so very loyal and protective — I rooted for them entirely too soon, but hey, I can't resist enemies to friends to lovers done right, okay? Évike and Gáspár's chemistry is palpable and the way they slowly start caring about each other is perfectly paced — this is how you write a believable and tremendously enjoyable romance. Please take notes. “You have the uncommon ability to make me doubt what I once thought was certain,” he says. “I’ve spent the last fortnight fearing you would destroy me. You may still.” But Évike and Gáspár are not the only ones to set foot in this story, and the fact that no character — villain or otherwise — is one-dimensional is one of my favorite aspect of the novel. Indeed even though we're not meant to like every one of them — and I certainly hated some of them with passion — the reasoning behind their actions is complex and believable, even when we can't condone or forgive them. There's nothing I despise more than villains that are simplistically evil and flat, and I really appreciated the layers Ava Reid gave to every one of her characters, villains included. Bottom Line : The Wolf and the Woodsman has so much to offer, and I can't recommend it enough. The ending left me breathless - it's open in a way that could have been uncomfortable, but it feels right, and it will stay with me for a very long time. For more bookish content, please visit:

  10. 5 out of 5

    literarylesbian

    Before I begin my review, I would like to discuss some grievances I have with the publishers of this book. This has nothing to do with the author or book, as this is out of their control. I take issue with the poor distribution of ARCs to Jewish reviewers. This book was promoted heavily as a Jewish OwnVoices story, so it was disappointing to see so many gentile reviewers and an absence of Jewish voices. I am Jewish, and upon requesting this book months prior, I was declined, only to suddenly be Before I begin my review, I would like to discuss some grievances I have with the publishers of this book. This has nothing to do with the author or book, as this is out of their control. I take issue with the poor distribution of ARCs to Jewish reviewers. This book was promoted heavily as a Jewish OwnVoices story, so it was disappointing to see so many gentile reviewers and an absence of Jewish voices. I am Jewish, and upon requesting this book months prior, I was declined, only to suddenly be approved the day before the book was published? This is a widespread problem in publishing, despite the rise in more diverse stories. OwnVoices reviewers should always be prioritized, but the opposite could be said for the distribution of this book. Now, with that out of the way, let's talk about this book! Because-- wow. This book was amazing. This book gave me everything I was promised, amazing Jewish folklore and even more amazing characters. This book was truly a character driven story. Though that's not to say the plot wasn't equally as engrossing. The world was complex, yet I felt like I could simply step into the world during the author's wonderful worldbuilding. This book truly is one of the most beautiful depictions of Jewish culture that I've ever seen. Reading about the Purim celebration felt like a warm hug. The main character was so complex, but I found myself resonating with her motivations and emotions throughout the story. None of these characters felt underdeveloped, each of their stories felt completely authentic. While the romance definitely takes a back burner in much of the story, that is not to say it isn't compelling. I really enjoyed the character's dynamics, and really felt like I got to know them through the author's writing. This book was nothing short of enthralling, and I have nothing but praise for the author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    literarylesbian

    Before I begin my review, I would like to discuss some grievances I have with the publishers of this book. This has nothing to do with the author or book, as this is out of their control. I take issue with the poor distribution of ARCs to Jewish reviewers. This book was promoted heavily as a Jewish OwnVoices story, so it was disappointing to see so many gentile reviewers and an absence of Jewish voices. I am Jewish, and upon requesting this book months prior, I was declined, only to suddenly be Before I begin my review, I would like to discuss some grievances I have with the publishers of this book. This has nothing to do with the author or book, as this is out of their control. I take issue with the poor distribution of ARCs to Jewish reviewers. This book was promoted heavily as a Jewish OwnVoices story, so it was disappointing to see so many gentile reviewers and an absence of Jewish voices. I am Jewish, and upon requesting this book months prior, I was declined, only to suddenly be approved the day before the book was published? This is a widespread problem in publishing, despite the rise in more diverse stories. OwnVoices reviewers should always be prioritized, but the opposite could be said for the distribution of this book. Now, with that out of the way, let's talk about this book! Because-- wow. This book was amazing. This book gave me everything I was promised, amazing Jewish folklore and even more amazing characters. This book was truly a character driven story. Though that's not to say the plot wasn't equally as engrossing. The world was complex, yet I felt like I could simply step into the world during the author's wonderful worldbuilding. This book truly is one of the most beautiful depictions of Jewish culture that I've ever seen. Reading about the Purim celebration felt like a warm hug. The main character was so complex, but I found myself resonating with her motivations and emotions throughout the story. None of these characters felt underdeveloped, each of their stories felt completely authentic. While the romance definitely takes a back burner in much of the story, that is not to say it isn't compelling. I really enjoyed the character's dynamics, and really felt like I got to know them through the author's writing. This book was nothing short of enthralling, and I have nothing but praise for the author.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    “If you stare long enough into the darkness of the forest, eventually something will stare right back.” I’ve been looking for a good escapist fantasy I could really sink my teeth into. I’m not sure exactly how The Wolf and the Woodsman came up on my radar, but once I read the description I just knew I had to have it. I mean, just look at those comp titles— The Bear and the Nightingale, Spinning Silver?? As a debut??? I literally had no choice. Évike is everything you could want in a heroine. She’s “If you stare long enough into the darkness of the forest, eventually something will stare right back.” I’ve been looking for a good escapist fantasy I could really sink my teeth into. I’m not sure exactly how The Wolf and the Woodsman came up on my radar, but once I read the description I just knew I had to have it. I mean, just look at those comp titles— The Bear and the Nightingale, Spinning Silver?? As a debut??? I literally had no choice. Évike is everything you could want in a heroine. She’s an outsider in her pagan village, as the only girl who has grown up to have no powers. So when the feared Holy Order of the Woodsmen make an appearance, demanding the same familiar sacrifice of one “wolf-girl” from her community, it’s not a huge surprise that they don’t hesitate to offer Évike up to be taken. She’s bound and taken away to be presented to the king of Régország, who follows the Patrifaith, and eventually face a likely death. But nothing involving Évike ever seems to go as smoothly as it’s supposed to. The majority of their long journey back to the palace is through heavily wooded areas where all kinds of sinister creatures are known to roam. Further complicating matters, Évike meets Gáspár, who challenges what she believes she knows about the domineering religion in Régország. To survive, Évike will have to make sacrifices of her own, some more extreme than she could ever imagine, and face difficult truths about who she is and where she comes from. As present as magic is in this novel, religion plays just as significant a role. Though the names and customs are changed, you can feel the echos of real history’s power dynamics playing out in this fictional world. The Yehuli are representative of Jewish populations in Central/Eastern Europe, and the Patrifaith is the influence Christianity was exercising at the time. Pagan villages like Évike‘s also existed, much to the disdain of the expanding Christian empires. Though with her mixed Yehuli and pagan heritage, it’s up to her which parts of her identity she will hold on to and which she will discard completely. I have a bit of a soft spot for authors who have been told that their stories don’t belong. More often than not those stories in question feature characters that have been made to feel the same way. And I think a lot of us have held those feelings too, at one time or another. Évike is many things, but she starts as an outsider in her own community, and no matter where this story ends up taking her, that will always be a part of her identity. And the beautiful thing about Reid’s writing and fantasy in general is that you don’t have to be have the same cultural background as a character like Évike in order to identity with her.⁣ This is not a ‘clean’ fantasy where everything follows an easy formula. Expect a conflicted reading experience. I loved my time with this book. It’s equal parts mesmerizing and vicious, equipped with the full sting of an unforgiving world. There’s some dark and brutal elements, including body horror, violence and general gore, but Reid also creates a starkly beautiful setting, full of warmth and intricate world-building. My only regret is that it’s a standalone, the ending felt somewhat abrupt. But that may just be me wanting to see more of this world. Inspired by Jewish folklore and Hungarian history, by an author of the same heritage, The Wolf and the Woodsman is interwoven with magic, blood and betrayal. You’re not going to want to miss the chance to pick it up and read it for yourself. *Thanks to Harper Voyager for my finished copy! **For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!

  13. 5 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    you mention spinning silver and the bear and the nightingale AND I AM THERE. CONTENT WARNINGS (as provided by the author) (view spoiler)[- Gore, including graphic descriptions of dismemberment, amputation, mutilation, and immolation - Torture, including whipping - Self-harm, including self-amputation - Animal death (graphic; the animals are not pets) - Antisemitism - Cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing - Physical abuse by parents and parental figures - Graphic descriptions of vomiting (hide spoiler) you mention spinning silver and the bear and the nightingale AND I AM THERE. CONTENT WARNINGS (as provided by the author) (view spoiler)[- Gore, including graphic descriptions of dismemberment, amputation, mutilation, and immolation - Torture, including whipping - Self-harm, including self-amputation - Animal death (graphic; the animals are not pets) - Antisemitism - Cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing - Physical abuse by parents and parental figures - Graphic descriptions of vomiting (hide spoiler)] This is not YA, it is adult. • release date: 8 June 2021 • « e-arc received from penguin random house in exchange for an honest review »

  14. 4 out of 5

    Romie

    full review here I'm in pain. the way this book was so deeply Jewish hurt my heart. I feel like I've just read a love letter to Jewish culture and history. I absolutely fell in love with Évike and Gáspár, mean girl and soft boy of the month. I can't exactly why I'm writing this and crying at the same time. this book simply meant a lot to me, and finishing it seriously feels like saying goodbye to a part of myself. watch me reread it whenever I need to feel seen and loved. thank you so much Del Rey full review here I'm in pain. the way this book was so deeply Jewish hurt my heart. I feel like I've just read a love letter to Jewish culture and history. I absolutely fell in love with Évike and Gáspár, mean girl and soft boy of the month. I can't exactly why I'm writing this and crying at the same time. this book simply meant a lot to me, and finishing it seriously feels like saying goodbye to a part of myself. watch me reread it whenever I need to feel seen and loved. thank you so much Del Rey UK for sending me a review copy!

  15. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    i am RUINED see my full review on reads rainbow Rep: Jewish characters, sapphic side characters CWs: magic requiring self harm, eye horror, gore, dismemberment, torture, animal deaths, Antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, child abuse i am RUINED see my full review on reads rainbow Rep: Jewish characters, sapphic side characters CWs: magic requiring self harm, eye horror, gore, dismemberment, torture, animal deaths, Antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, child abuse

  16. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar

    2.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. “The Woodsmen,” she gasps. “They're coming for you.” When the Woodsmen came for Evike's mother, the seer Virag took her in, now fifteen years later, Evike is facing her mother's fate. Evike is “barren” she has no ability for the three skills, forge metal; flame; and healing, blessed from their god Isten, so in order to save Katalin, the young seer, 2.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. “The Woodsmen,” she gasps. “They're coming for you.” When the Woodsmen came for Evike's mother, the seer Virag took her in, now fifteen years later, Evike is facing her mother's fate. Evike is “barren” she has no ability for the three skills, forge metal; flame; and healing, blessed from their god Isten, so in order to save Katalin, the young seer, Evike is being sacrificed to the Woodsmen. Evike's village and people are called pagans, since they believe in the old and many gods, while most of the four regions of Regorszag have become followers of the Patrifaith and believe in only the Godfather of life and Godfather of death. A bargain was struck that every couple years, a wolf-girl (named for the wolf capes they wear to denote they can do magic or one of the three skills) must be given to the Woodsmen and brought back to the capital city of Kiraly Szek and the King. This assures that the pagans can live in peace without fear of attack. Even though Katalin has bullied Evike her entire life, Evike still goes to the Woodsmen to save her village. The women and girls all have two faces---the wolf's and their own. Using and incorporating Hungarian and Jewish folklore, The Wolf and the Woodsman, was a fantasy that suffered from some pacing problems in the first half but had an ending that will lock readers into the world. This is told all from Evike's point-of-view, she's twenty-five years old but aside from the, very, macabre folklore told throughout the story, a talk of her sexual past, and a short sex scene, I thought she and the Woodsman captain, that turns out to be the protagonist with her, Barany Gaspar, and the story overall, read like a young adult fantasy. I know this is being marketed as adult because of the all the content warnings (the author has listed them all) but I was a little disappointed that I don't think these twenty-five year old characters felt older than seventeen. “Te nem vagy taltos,” he manages, eye wide as he takes in the sight of me, chestnut-haired, unmasked. You are not a seer. “Te nem vagy harcos,” I shoot back between ragged breaths. You are not a warrior. The beginning ushers you into the world with heavy utilizing of the folklore and generally worked to set the world but then the first half has Evike and Gaspar going on a journey to capture a turul, a magical bird, that Gaspar thinks will help his father retain his power in the face of Gaspar's half-brother Nandor, who is trying to take the throne from the father and the true born prince, Gaspar. This journey worked to bond Evike and Gaspar together but the outcome ended up making the whole journey feel mostly pointless and it really slowed the pace down. If you can make it to the second half, especially the last 20%, the pace picks up as we spend time in the capital city and the political intrigue and religious allegory give the story more promise. If I cannot be Vilmotten, my belly bright with Isten's star, perched in the highest tree branch, perhaps I can be something else. Perhaps I can be the favored of another god. Antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, and religious zealots and warning against them becomes the clear message that this story is trying to warn against. The way even “good” people's actions can help and hinder these movements and the question of sacrificing one for the greater good, gave the second half greater weight for me. Evike and Gaspar on their own, along with a handful of other secondary characters, were never fully flushed out for me, the folklore and outside messaging eclipsed them, making the parts of the story adequate but the overall story greater to me. I would tell adults to read this for the fantasy aspect but I don't think I would say read this for the romance, there's a developing romance between Evike and Gaspar, but, except for that one quick sex scene, their emotional connection read more young adult to me and the most important point, they get a more ambiguous happy for now. For all that I railed against her, she loved us all more than she loved any one of us, and much more than she loved herself. The first half was slow for me but I found this to have some invoking macabre scenes, fantastical folklore, and allegory that made the second half more appealing in it's messaging.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    TW: gore, genocide, abuse & torture, antisemitism Such a beautiful, heart-rendering book. It goes without saying, I truly loved The Wolf and the Woodsman, and I'll try to convey why in my brief review (with my health these days, it's difficult to write anything long and analytical, so I hope this will suffice). But the most important aspect is the representation, including Jewish representation, survival of abuse, and the honest depictions of persecution, oppression, and ethnic cleansing--all of w TW: gore, genocide, abuse & torture, antisemitism Such a beautiful, heart-rendering book. It goes without saying, I truly loved The Wolf and the Woodsman, and I'll try to convey why in my brief review (with my health these days, it's difficult to write anything long and analytical, so I hope this will suffice). But the most important aspect is the representation, including Jewish representation, survival of abuse, and the honest depictions of persecution, oppression, and ethnic cleansing--all of which is integral to the world building. To miss that, I think, is to miss the point of the entire story. Aside from that, however, there's even more to love, particularly the hate to love romance, the atmospheric and lyrical writing, and the haunting / lovely / gory settings. I'll pause at the romance, because goodness me, it had me weak to the knees (if you've read that, you'll see what I did there hah). Our resident solemn prince and wolf girl are stuck together on a dangerous journey, are forced not only to share body heat, but to depend on and rescue each other more than once despite the difference in their beliefs and the very minor fact that she was supposed to be his captive. So. What isn't to swoon over? All of that combined with a riveting end, one I suspect will stick with you forever, and you have a new absolute must-read for 2021. Thank you to the publisher for letting me read an early copy! (Do keep in mind that this is very much an adult book.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    take a shot every time gáspár kneels rep: Hungarian-coded setting & cast, Hungarian-Ottoman-coded disabled li, Jewish-coded characters, sapphic side characters tw: magic requiring self harm, blood, body horror, eye horror, gore, dismemberment, torture, antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, child abuse, animal death

  19. 5 out of 5

    aly ☆彡

    2.5/5 The Wolf and the Woodsman is Reid's debut fantasy about a young woman from a remote village and a disgraced prince who must work together to preserve the kingdom from the prince's violent, religious zealot half brother. And this book literally took me too long to finish. It has a good start and I was hooked at the beginning, but then it gets lengthy and I started to get bored. Plot: This book just has a lot to unpack. I've never been so absent-minded in reading a book, that I don't think 2.5/5 The Wolf and the Woodsman is Reid's debut fantasy about a young woman from a remote village and a disgraced prince who must work together to preserve the kingdom from the prince's violent, religious zealot half brother. And this book literally took me too long to finish. It has a good start and I was hooked at the beginning, but then it gets lengthy and I started to get bored. Plot: This book just has a lot to unpack. I've never been so absent-minded in reading a book, that I don't think I truly pay attention to its world-building. I was informed that the author literally studied ethnonationalism religious history which reflected in her writing that was indeed profound. The stories of the tribes and their beliefs were well written but the information started to get repetitive and long-drawn; especially when Évike keeps on narrating the same folklore, over and over. This book was also supposed to be a mix of Spinning Silver as well as The Bear and the Nightingale but mind you it does not even come close to measure what it's comparing. I'm not sure if this is just me? I don't think it's just me but I definitely failed to see the resemblance, thus the book fell short in being impressive. I just wished the book would end sooner since nothing happened for the majority part of it. Not until the last 40 pages where the plot started to pick up again. Writing Style: This is where my major problem comes from and it's not because the author writes poorly. It was decent and expository. However, the author style of using the same word or phrase over and over again is becoming apparent that it started to annoy me. "...cheeks still burning" "...him and his flustered, prayerful blushing" "My cheeks flush" "The barest flush of his cheeks" "No, he agrees, cheeks flushing faintly" "...a blush deepening her exceptionally pale face" And trust me, the list doesn't stop there. I don't know how many times do the characters blushed/flushed/warmed their cheeks in every conversation they have. It feels like that is all they do to a point it is becoming their default. I am utterly flabbergasted. Romance: Definitely did not dig into the romance. I understand Évike does not have the best upbringing but I believe, instead of being deprived, that woman is simply horny. Get back to the repetitive writing style with one horny character. Insufferable. I am literally impressed with how Évike managed to think about how Gáspár's on every second she could; how his warm body was closed to her or for when they kissed. That narrative repeated for almost every chapter, it's exasperating. "...struggling not to think of his body flush against my own" "...remembering the line of his body against mine" "...I didn't imagine his body pressing along the length of mine..." "My body remembers the shape of his, from so many nights curled together" You both are out there in a cold with nothing but the cloaks. Isn't it sensible to find warms in each other's bodies? Yet Évike's mind always seems to have wonders of its own. Characters: This also brings me to say, none of the characters here is likeable nor interesting. I have nothing to bring to the table. Not Évike, not even Gáspár. In short, this is a disappointment. This book could be for you, but not for me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nasi

    I am so so sad that this didn't work out. With all the comparisons with Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden I was sure it would be my favourite. Now I'm worried about For the Wolf, another upcoming release that is compared with Novik and Arden. The entire plot of this story revolves around heroine trying to save the people who severely abused her all her life. Personally, I found that extremely triggering and can't continue with this book. I strongly believe that it's not the responsibility of the I am so so sad that this didn't work out. With all the comparisons with Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden I was sure it would be my favourite. Now I'm worried about For the Wolf, another upcoming release that is compared with Novik and Arden. The entire plot of this story revolves around heroine trying to save the people who severely abused her all her life. Personally, I found that extremely triggering and can't continue with this book. I strongly believe that it's not the responsibility of the abused to save their abusers. Any book that argues against this simply goes into my hate-list. If that wasn't bad enough, the characterisation is also awful. Simply put, the main character doesn't read like someone who has been abused her whole life. If anything, she reacts like a brat who always had everything she wanted. She's rude. She says everything that comes to her mind before she thinks about it. She doesn't give a single thought about angering her captors. Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with her because I think she's unlikeable. I have a problem with her because there is no way someone who has been bullied her whole life would act like this. Here's the thing, people, all people, are extremely adaptable to their environments. That means that if you're in an environment that every time you talk, there could be the risk of physical abuse ( which through her memories we see that's the case ) you end up thinking very carefully about what you say. And you'll continue to do that even after you leave that place. I expected someone with her background to act very differently. If not broken, then at least she should've acted like a very cautious person. Now I see why the author might have wanted to write her as someone with a lot of rage inside her. That could be expected from someone in that position. A more skilled author could've written her as someone with a lot of suppressed anger, who doesn't show it and can also act very cautiously to avoid immediate pain. Something I learned from this book though, is that Reid is not a very skilled author. ---- pre-reading: OMG OMG it's here! I've heard Novik comparison and I honestly don't need to hear anything else.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee » libraryinthecountry

    Sometimes you read a book and feel as though you just don't have the words to adequately describe the ache of emotion it's left within you and the brand it's blazed across your soul. This is one of those books for me. First, I want explain just why I chose to pick this book up. It wasn't just that it's been likened to two of my personal favorites: The Bear and the Nightingale and The Witcher. Those comparisons surely fit. It wasn't just that it has a dark, woodsy fantasy setting, with a wild girl Sometimes you read a book and feel as though you just don't have the words to adequately describe the ache of emotion it's left within you and the brand it's blazed across your soul. This is one of those books for me. First, I want explain just why I chose to pick this book up. It wasn't just that it's been likened to two of my personal favorites: The Bear and the Nightingale and The Witcher. Those comparisons surely fit. It wasn't just that it has a dark, woodsy fantasy setting, with a wild girl and a lost prince whose lives crash into each other and become irrevocably bound. No, it's because it tells the story of characters caught between the worlds they are tied to. This story is inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish folklore. I am the daughter of divorced parents, with a father whose family immigrated from Hungary several decades ago. I was raised in recognition of this, and to celebrate it, but never actually knew my father or the Hungarian side of my family. And for that, I ache, because despite having traditionally Hungarian names on my birth certificate, I know practically nothing about the culture or my family's history. In The Wolf and the Woodsman — with its rich and evocative fantasy setting — I found a connection to the fragments that compile Évike's soul and related so deeply to her journey of finding her worth and identity. Évike herself is half-pagan, half-Yehuli, caught in the grasp of a kingdom that feels no love for either of her peoples. Despite her pagan upbringing, she is barren of magic and shunned within her own village, where magic is coveted and revered. While I am not Jewish myself, I was enchanted by the weaving of Jewish folklore throughout this story. Seeing the Jewish representation through the Yehuli people was so powerful. These stories are severely underrepresented in literature, particularly genre fiction such as this, and I hope publishers will take note of how enriching it is to see these stories on the page. When the King's Woodsman come to take another girl for her magic, Évike is surrendered by her village with a lie, and she must pretend to be exactly what she's always desired to be. Except, amongst her captors she finds the disgraced, but true-born prince Gáspár, another soul caught between the worlds of his parents, and seeking redemption in the eyes of his people. Between each other, they develop a tenuous bargain that will prevent the shattering of their worlds and hope to bring peace to Régország. Of course, along they way they come to recognize the kindred pieces of their beings have become twined and their bargain grows into something much deeper and the burn is slow and oh is it good, folks. *wink* From page to page, it is clear how personal the telling of this story is for Reid and she captures it with her expressive and lyrical writing. Through her atmospheric storytelling, the reader is enfolded into a world where nothing is given without first taking, where even the trees themselves feel on the cusp of giving chase, and where the worst monsters live behind city walls and whisper prayers with reverent fervor. It should be noted that this story is squarely adult, with references to and depictions of gore, genocide and sex. The world Reid has crafted is as wild and vicious as it is magical and hauntingly beautiful. Hands down, this is one to savor as you read and one I won't soon forget. I look forward to reading more from Reid in the future and seeing this story in the hands of readers. Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    I got about 14 pages into this and it was everything that bugged me about Malice all over again, with a heroine very much the same. Despite being marketed as adult fantasy, it’s that standard YA first-person, present-tense voice; the protagonist supposedly is 25 (!), but her primary concern is being constantly and openly bullied by the mean girls of the town for being different. Her other concerns are that her mom is missing and that she might suffer corporal punishment for fighting back against I got about 14 pages into this and it was everything that bugged me about Malice all over again, with a heroine very much the same. Despite being marketed as adult fantasy, it’s that standard YA first-person, present-tense voice; the protagonist supposedly is 25 (!), but her primary concern is being constantly and openly bullied by the mean girls of the town for being different. Her other concerns are that her mom is missing and that she might suffer corporal punishment for fighting back against the mean girls. Then, she sacrifices herself to save all these people who look down on her anyway because a female character has to be a saint to be “likeable” don’tcha know, and this totally doesn’t send the message that the only way someone who’s victimized can be a worthwhile human being is by being a doormat and thereby enabling more of the same. Putting yourself before people who go out of their way to make your life miserable? Blasphemy! The angel in the house would never do that. There’s been talk lately about how readers are likely to label fantasy by female authors as YA when the authors themselves don’t see it that way, and I worry about having a potential gender bias there. I have indeed had this reaction to a number of recent books. On the other hand, while I haven’t read a fantasy novel by a man in a couple of years, I think I’m still able to pick it out in their works: Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, for instance, is written in quite a juvenile register despite its elevated vocabulary. It may not quite fit the YA genre, but it’s definitely best enjoyed around the age of 13. So yeah, sometimes it’s the readers mislabeling books (not everything with a young protagonist is written for young readers), but sometimes it’s the publishers. Has fantasy always been this teenage-y? Is the popularity of the YA genre causing its tropes to creep into adult fiction? Or is this the result of authors writing essentially YA books that just can’t be marketed as such because they have a bit too much sex or gore in them (which appears to be the case here)? At any rate, it’s frustrating to pick up these books only to find them full of teenage concerns, black-and-white characterization, and lack of psychological believability (and a supposed 25 year old who could more naturally have been written as 16). I’ll pass on this one.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    WOW. full rtc

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice in Bookland

    "I won't believe you, unless you kneel." Such a good debut, not perfect by any means but I was glued to the book from the very first page. The atmosphere was fantastic, the woods and the city felt like real places and Ava accomplished that without writing the typical boring descriptions that are long just for the sake of being long. The entire storyline revolving around Évike and her father? Amazing. I could actually feel how much our protagonist was yearning for that bond and seeing her father emb "I won't believe you, unless you kneel." Such a good debut, not perfect by any means but I was glued to the book from the very first page. The atmosphere was fantastic, the woods and the city felt like real places and Ava accomplished that without writing the typical boring descriptions that are long just for the sake of being long. The entire storyline revolving around Évike and her father? Amazing. I could actually feel how much our protagonist was yearning for that bond and seeing her father embracing her instead of turning her away was so good to read. The romance - which isn't the main focus of the book, the title and the summary are kinda misleading - was a full of angst enemies to lovers (= my all time favorite trope). Take a look at that quote on the top and swoon with me. I enjoyed it so much, my only complaint is that the problems between Évike and Gáspár were resolved a bit too quickly in their 'main scene' and I don't get why the ending was kinda open. Another thing that I didn't like was how rushed the ending was. The final battle was good - a bit confusing but good - but when I turned the page and read 'epilogue' I immediately felt like there was something missing there... the entire book was so well paced but the last 10% was meh. I also think that the book would have been better with a dual pov, in some parts Gáspár's pov would have helped us understand him way better. It would have also been interesting seeing him interact with his family.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I really, really enjoyed this book. What a masterpiece of lore. The author combines Jewish ethnoreligious culture and dark fantasy into an entrancing and fearful story. I think I will reread this book before writing my review. PLEASE BE ADVISED: this book is an adult fiction novel. NOOOOOTTTTT Young Adult fiction. TW: mutilation, body horror, violence. *** Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog *** The Wolf & The Woodsman by Ava Reid Publisher: Harper Voyager Publication Date: June 8, 2021 Rating I really, really enjoyed this book. What a masterpiece of lore. The author combines Jewish ethnoreligious culture and dark fantasy into an entrancing and fearful story. I think I will reread this book before writing my review. PLEASE BE ADVISED: this book is an adult fiction novel. NOOOOOTTTTT Young Adult fiction. TW: mutilation, body horror, violence. *** Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog *** The Wolf & The Woodsman by Ava Reid Publisher: Harper Voyager Publication Date: June 8, 2021 Rating: 5 stars Summary (from Goodreads): In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant. In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. 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. What I Liked: You know that feeling when you see a book's cover, read the synopsis, and just KNOW that this will be something you'll love? I got that feeling when I heard about this book a year ago, and that feeling did not lead my astray. This story was absolutely exquisite. The Wolf & The Woodsman is an adult fantasy novel based on Jewish folklore and Hungarian history. There are many major themes in this book that the author explored, including cultural genocide, antisemitism, and ethnic cleansing. I want to note that I do not have Hungarian heritage and I am not Jewish, so I will not have the best perspective on certain aspects of the book. Nevertheless, I know how hard the author worked to put every ounce of herself, her culture, her religion, and her history into this book. As an "outsider", I can appreciate how well-written the story is, how fantastic the world-building is, and how powerful the messages are. Please note: there is body horror, abuse by elders, mutilation, torture, and other potential triggers in this story. This is the story of Évike, a woman without power in her small pagan village. She is despised by many in her village, and abused for her powerlessness, as well as her mixed heritage (her father is a Yehuli man). When the Woodsmen arrive to take another pagan girl with seer power, the villagers conspire to send Évike. Évike is taken to the nation's capital, where she must serve the king and his treasonous son. Gáspár, one of the Woodsmen charged with bringing Évike to the king, is the king's other son. He knows what it is like to be despised for who he is. Together, Évike and Gáspár must work together to to stop Gáspár's traitorous brother from overthrowing the king, slaughtering the Yehuli, and changing the landscape and the history of the nation forever. There is so much more to this story than what I briefly summarized. The magic system, the politics, the scheming, the romance... this standalone novel is filled with just about everything that makes a fantasy novel amazing. But it's even more than a "usual fantasy novel" - Reid makes this novel her own by weaving Jewish history, lore, and life into this book. This book parallels Hungarian history in the Yehuli's imminent expulsion from the capital, the blatant discrimination, the way they are used and discarded by the government. I need to reread this novel to analyze and engulf myself in the political machinations and the Yehuli trials - Reid has written these aspects so, so well, and with such power and purpose. I do want to talk about the romance - I love a good slowburn, hate to love romance. Évike is a feisty, hurt, tough young woman, and Gáspár is a quiet, hurt, tough young man. They should be on opposite sides of the war, with Évike being a pagan "wolf-girl" of mixed heritage, and Gáspár being a royal prince of mixed heritage. But they are like fire and ice or a moth and a flame - they are magnetic, and I love this pairing. I love Évike's headstrong quality and Gáspár's quiet, less assertive nature. Such a sweet, yet volatile romance! Évike isn't just a strong young woman - she's a fighter and a survivor. She has been abused by her village and her Yehuli family doesn't know she exists. She's tired, hurt, and broken down, but she is a fighter. She takes matters into her own hands - particularly her "powerlessness". Here is where the body horror aspect comes into play - I won't say much more than that. Évike wasn't just on a journey to the capital, or a journey to find this fantastical magical creature - she was on a journey that led to her discovering more about her Yehuli heritage. I really appreciate Reid's commentary on heritage, and the diaspora. This novel is a standalone, and the story feels very full and complete by the time I reached the end. I would love to read more books in this universe, but I feel as though Évike and Gáspár's "chapter" is over. The ending is one that I enjoyed - no spoilers, of course! The author wraps up all the loose ends but also leaves the future slightly open... I wouldn't mind seeing Évike and Gáspár make cameo appearances in companion novels set within the same universe. If that is something that the author is considering! I truly enjoyed this wonderful, powerful, thought-provoking novel. The cover is gorgeous and so is the beautiful story! What I Did Not Like: I can't think of anything I did not like! Perhaps that the story pacing dragged a little in the middle, but I also read this book over several days, so keep that in mind. The pacing overall is very engaging, but I hit a snag in the middle. But things pick up quickly in the capital! You'll have to read the book to know what I mean. Would I Recommend It: I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy novels. This is NOT a fairy tale retelling - don't be fooled. This IS an adult fiction novel though, so don't confuse this book with Young Adult (YA) novels. The book can be read by YA readers, but the content of the book is certainly meant for adults. (Graphic violence, sexual content, etc.) Rating: 5 stars. Thank you so much to the publishing team for letting me read this book ahead of the publication. I have been lending my early copy to friends and family and screaming about this book on social media. I have been struggling to read anything in the last year (oh, pandemic), but this book was exactly what I needed - immersive, intriguing, and thought-provoking. I can't wait to read more by Ava Reid!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marion

    Contrary to the blurbs from the publishing company, this book is nothing like “Bear and the Nightingale” or “Spinning Silver.” I repeat, if you are looking for the glorious escapism of “Bear and the Nightingale,” the fine craftsmanship of “Spinning Silver,” or an exploration of belief in “City of Brass:” this is not the book for you. If you’re looking for a half-baked body horror/romance/magical adventure/ commentary on religious persecution/Game of Thrones fanfiction then this book is for you. Contrary to the blurbs from the publishing company, this book is nothing like “Bear and the Nightingale” or “Spinning Silver.” I repeat, if you are looking for the glorious escapism of “Bear and the Nightingale,” the fine craftsmanship of “Spinning Silver,” or an exploration of belief in “City of Brass:” this is not the book for you. If you’re looking for a half-baked body horror/romance/magical adventure/ commentary on religious persecution/Game of Thrones fanfiction then this book is for you. And I hope you enjoy it. If you aren’t looking for that then: Buckle. Up. I’ve got things to say. First up, I want to explain my two star review because this book as a whole was not good. But I really wanted to give it one and a half stars because it did interesting things that I wish the author took time to develop and explore because they were actually really promising. The body horror magic system. This was really really cool. Like, I truly enjoyed seeing where it would go (it ending up going...somewhere?) and I did enjoy that themes of religious persecution were a major part of the book. As there were parallels to medieval Catholicism and Judaism, and how the Jewish people were treated terribly and kicked out of country after country. She calls them Yehuli and I found their story very compelling, and ultimately wanted them to be the focus. The thing I hated most about this book was it’s awful first person narrator: Évike. Or as she calls herself incessantly, “wolf-girl.” She’s awful. No wonder she was bullied mercilessly in her village. Okay that’s a joke and a bad one at that. No one ever deserves to be bullied. But if anyone *did* deserve it, it would be her. She’s so flipping MEAN. Like actually mean. She prods and pokes and goads and blames everybody but herself and she didn’t change. She’s a 25 year old brat who makes terrible decisions. She is chiefly mean to our Woodsman, Gáspár, who is an angsty prince just trying his best, and is constantly being insulted by wolf-girl as he keeps saving her life. We’re supposed to fall in love with them as she makes fun of him as they trek to the frozen north to do...something. Also she’s supposed to struggle with her identity but like....she doesn’t??? A request: STOP MAKING “DIFFICULT WOMEN” CHARACTERS PLAIN OLD ASSHOLES. IT’S NOT FEMINIST IT’S AWFUL. TOUGH WOMEN CAN ALSO BE NICE. Onto the next reason I disliked this book: the treatment of Gáspár. He never got to become a fully realized character, which was a shame because he was much more interesting then wolf-girl as he is not only a shunned prince but he is of mixed race- which is something that was never really addressed. I read this as him being the only dark-skinned person in this country, and his treatment in it flummoxed me. I am a white woman who is going to try to talk this through, and I acknowledge that I may not be the best person to talk about this, but I’m going to try. To begin: His mother is constantly referred to as being dark-skinned and being from the south, so I assumed that meant he is Black or Hispanic or just of a more Mediterranean skin tone in this vaguely Eastern European fantasy country. He is also referred to as the “black prince” and his “blood blackened” and having olive skin. Which to be fair, “black prince” is an sobriquet used to refer to a fierce reputation or status as the “black sheep” of the family, not their skin color. But it was never fully addressed in the book why he was called that exactly, and I was left with many uncomfortable questions about it. Was he called that because of his darker skin? Are we to assume that it’s the fantasy world’s racism? Do we conflate his outsider status with his skin color or his independent character? If so, why was this never addressed in any meaningful way? Why did Gáspár never get to talk about having a skin color darker than the people in country he rules over? Did he experience any racism? Or are we to just assume that he experienced racism because of our own reality- and is that in and of itself racist? I would have assumed that this was to be addressed within the world itself, and by wolf-girl herself as she called him the “black prince” to his face with an implication that this was negative. Why does she not apologize? Or is this just me bringing this reality into this fantasy? I don’t really have an answer, and that is very troubling to me. In a more skillful book, this questions would have be asked but also answered in some way. Maybe it was and I utterly missed it? To make a long paragraph short: the treatment of the only character of color was problematic and gave me so many unanswered questions. And I don’t think the author’s intentions were bad, I think of this as a victim of poor writing and not thinking every decision through. And thirdly, and most hilariously, was its very clear inspirations from the hit tv show “Game of Thrones.” Because this was actually insane. I, like many other people, enjoyed the show immensely and elements of it have stuck with me. Here are somethings from the show that I found in this book that made me think this began as a GOT fan fiction: -One-eyed religious zealot with a flaming sword -praying to The Godfather of Life (Lord of Light ahem) and things magically happen -wild woman with a bow (Ygritte) is taken by a man (Jon Snow) in a special group of soldiers who can take no wives and father no children -the Woodsman (Night’s Watch) wear flowy capes -someone literally says “winter is coming” -someone literally says “bend the knee” -someone literally says “widows wail” -someone literally says that everyone south of the north is a southerner There are also probably a ton more references that I missed but you get the picture. This is a book to skip. *Update 4/16* So I stumbled upon a preorder campaign for this book and there’s art available with the two main characters are featured and Gáspár’s skin tone is very dark and it makes me all the more confused about his treatment in the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Booktastically Amazing

    Is there such a thing as too many similes and metaphors? Rating: 🙂🙂🙂 2.5 (entertainment counts, I guess) (excerpts taken from a single chapter) “Seeing him pick his way around King János’s body like he would a puddle of muck in the road is what finally jolts me from my stupor.” “Nándor’s face is as pale as Saint István’s marble statue, smooth and unweathered by time.” "His eyes are glazed, slick, like stones in a riverbed" "The men and women give full-bodied quakes, like the word itself is a ghost to Is there such a thing as too many similes and metaphors? Rating: 🙂🙂🙂 2.5 (entertainment counts, I guess) (excerpts taken from a single chapter) “Seeing him pick his way around King János’s body like he would a puddle of muck in the road is what finally jolts me from my stupor.” “Nándor’s face is as pale as Saint István’s marble statue, smooth and unweathered by time.” "His eyes are glazed, slick, like stones in a riverbed" "The men and women give full-bodied quakes, like the word itself is a ghost to be exorcised" "My heart thrashes like willow branches in the wind, my throat and stomach burning "It spreads sickly, like a strewing of lambent petals, gleaming red and gold" "Voices weave and tangle like a thousand dark threads." "Putting my fath in King Janos was ike boarding a ship with green rot in its hull and hoping it wouldn't sink. But Zsigmond making a deal with Nandor is like asking the river for mercy as its black water fills your lungs." "...they look like skewered mirror images of each other." "...it's a terrible sound, like the braying of a mule." "Water skims across my skin like the edge of a blade, hot and cold at once." "The absence [ears] of it makes his head look lopsided. Like a tree with branches but no roots." "But all my tears have been ground out of me, like dead skin scrubbed off a wound." "The memory seems as pale and hollow as the inside of a conch now, drained of all its warmth." "I think of Zsigmond holding me to his chest, but that memory feels twize removed, too, like I'm remembering a ghost." "The laugh sounds all wrong, like a river bubbling over and flooding someone's sod house." "I let Gaspar teach me a few words Merzani, and they catch my tongue like a sip of good wine." Nah, I don't think so, no. Also, a wonderful bonus because I love being a good human being. "I wake sometime in the morning, when the sky is a pink as the shell of an ear, delicate and raw." (excuse me, what is this) Soo... I loved this book. I loved it so much I spent eight days trying to get through it. Loved it to such a magnanimous extent that I was loath to finish it, because duh, it was too good to finish. I loved this as much as I loved going to any sort of place with people included. In other words, I didn't love this at all. But I'll pretend I do, because I need to sleep and being fake always brings on the zzzz faster than any chloroform solution. The storyline was okay. Decent enough to force me to fight through the first 50 pages, because, if I'm being honest, it was very good. Up until it wasn't anymore. It dragged, lagged and basically made me want to tear chunks of my hair and sprinkle them upon every plot 'twist' that tried to leave me bamboozled, yet only made me question why was I still openmouthed. Maybe my expectations have lowered to such a degree that even mild changes of circumstance surprise me to a certain level. Look! A bird! Wait, no, that's a corpse being thrown! Ta da, surprise galore. I liked the pace up until the mid-point. After that, well, let's just say I felt as if my nails were being pulled out with a tennis racket. Whatever that means, honestly. I came into the book not expecting much, left the book... still not expecting much. I'm pretty certain that I'm already in a book slump, so that's nice? Yeah, super awesome. [Writing segment has been declined as cause of over-infused anger bombs that threatened to decimate humanity because the writing was not bad but also not good. Maybe annoying is the best word to describe it.] The characters were basically there just to have somebody to talk about, really. Intelligence? Let's sparkle it like rushing snow from the black mountains of Narnia. Good character ARC? Let us rejoice in it, like getting bitten by blood filled crabs on a summer morning. I am already feeling nauseous again. Great! See, I really don't see the point in having characters just for the sake of having characters. The MC was irrational, dumb and if I were to have been abused, both mentally and physically, I would look for the most cautious way to go about a mission, no? Am I wrong for wishing she would've been a better character? I was annoyed with her for half of the book and confused with her, for the other half. Sometimes she would think her decisions through and actually take the best course of action IN A WAR, to then throw all that down the bloody cow toilet because 'I'm a speshul wolf-girl with speshul powers' that frankly were of no use in the long run. So yeah, sacrifice more body parts and see where your stupidity gets you. No, really, I want to see it happen. I think most of my hatred for her was how she expressed herself, and how she acted, and basically her in general. Asking the love interest to kneel and expect me, out of nowhere, to be like 'OmG that is like, so hawt OMG'. Sweetie, I'm afraid that didn't work this time. Because yes, sometimes, it actually works. I was sad to see such a potentially strong heroin be made this whinny, repetitive, annoying, crybaby, useless, thing. I'm honestly flabbergasted at how quickly my 'ooooo, this is about to be good!' stage deteriorated just by reading her entire monologues about the sky. Boo, I don't need to know it looks like  a hairy back nor if it smells like puddles of poo. Direct quote? Maybe, my dahlings. I didn't need to know all the ways you could say that the villain had pale skin. I know he had pale skin. And I certainly did not need to know all the different and speshul ways to describe everyone else’s skin color. It just is, don't come here acting like some guy’s skin is like the moist bark of the Amazonian forest or something. I'm not that dense, I get it. Then we have the rest of the characters. Which I cared about as much as I care about working in summer (just give us free money or something, pfft. Never mind, I must say it cultivates... ange- maturity *me pretending to know what I'm talking about*) We have the wolf-girls, didn't really care about them. After that, we have the high society. Wasn't very interested. And following the previous things, we have the love interest and the villain. The latter being the only thing worthy of a lot of mention, not specifically dedicated for rant purposes. Gaspar, the lovely so-no-like-other-woodsmen-because-I'm-a-prince-that-cannot-stand-for-myself. Can you tell him and the MC share a colonial thinking system? He gets the start and she gets the butt-end. Get it? He’s slightly higher than- okay, he was smarter is what I’m trying to say. And by smarter, I mean he didn't jump headfirst into metaphorical piranha infested waters. But then we take his personality in hand... and of course, what personality am I even referring to? I don't even know. He was nice, which was good, lost potential, which was as predicted, and that's all there is to him. Sad, yet obvious. I expected him to be a villain, I wanted that to happen. I wanted him to be at least semi evil, but noooo, he was awfully treated and misunderstood. Where have I heard that before? Oh right, all those novels that disappointed me. One of the few characters (as mentioned above) that was at least good enough to be considered a correct use of my otherwise wasted time. The villain, Nandor. See, I really, REALLY hated him. Like, a lot. And that's exactly what I was supposed to feel! He was so full of venom, vitriol and cruel intentions, it's a surprise he didn't carry this book. Oh wait, I think he did. I didn't like him for being a bad guy, I liked him for the exact reason that he excelled in being this piece of horse dung. And frankly, that's the only thing that made me go 'wow, this man is awful. I want to see him suffer' and not want to cry because of the mental torture I was going through. My first thought (as it always is), was that he would be a love interest. Before, you know, seeing him kill and torture animals and people. That puts a certain damper to my villain-hate-to-love premise I was nurturing, if you get what I mean. The romance doesn't even deserve a single paragraph. But I'll still say something, of course. Together, they made the sloppiest, most watered down, disgustingly salty, Mcdonald's soda ever to exist. That certain one that looks appetizing with all its bubbles and then, on the first drink, makes you doubt every nerve in your body that predicted it was going to be at least somewhat decent. That's what the 'romance' was. On a closing note, like I said up there, this book was the love of my life. And I feel so happy that I had the chance to read such a masterpiece in such a long period of time. I loved the characters, adored the writing (even when it mentioned a metaphor of pink cables when the MC wouldn't even know what cables are), would die for the romance and- actually, I would die because of the romance. That's it, really. After I gave up on trying to like this story, I knew that it would be a rant. And I also knew I would have the urge to kill something at the end of said rant. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of Hades. I would love to know when he's thinking of new ways to torture me- P.S: Still in a book slump. Wonder why? ............................ ✅Book slump I want the week I spent reading this, back. I want it back. I could've been doing so many more things. And this is where I spent my time. No. I am in pain ................................ I hope this is good.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Parker-Chan

    Oh world, you aren’t ready for this magisterial, stunningly aesthetic work of faith and mythology. Do you maybe like beautiful, mutilated enemy love interests who look good on their knees? DO YOU?

  29. 4 out of 5

    idiomatic

    dnf'ing because i am ethically, intellectually, and aesthetically by the idea that you can slip a young adult pitmad manuscript in an adult hardcover, add a bit of sex and a sprinkle of gore (in the same puerile prose), and not touch the style or substance at all. it's not the worst young adult novel i've ever tried to read, but it is written childishly, for children—both in its stilted sentences and in its self-righteous conviction that the story's simple moral allegory is doing Very Important dnf'ing because i am ethically, intellectually, and aesthetically by the idea that you can slip a young adult pitmad manuscript in an adult hardcover, add a bit of sex and a sprinkle of gore (in the same puerile prose), and not touch the style or substance at all. it's not the worst young adult novel i've ever tried to read, but it is written childishly, for children—both in its stilted sentences and in its self-righteous conviction that the story's simple moral allegory is doing Very Important Work. lipstick on a pig, baby.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    3.5 stars Cool elements, well written. I just could not engage fully with this at all. Concept: ★★★★★ Characters: ★★★ 1/2 Plot/Pacing: ★★★★ Enjoyment: ★★ 1/2 *This is a reaction review, and does NOT attempt to provide a summary or introduction to the story itself. Sorry!* This is one of several retelling/fairytale revamps I've read this year, and unfortunately for The Wolf and the Woodsman it joins its fellow tale counterparts in the "meh" category on my shelf. I don't necessarily think that the book i 3.5 stars Cool elements, well written. I just could not engage fully with this at all. Concept: ★★★★★ Characters: ★★★ 1/2 Plot/Pacing: ★★★★ Enjoyment: ★★ 1/2 *This is a reaction review, and does NOT attempt to provide a summary or introduction to the story itself. Sorry!* This is one of several retelling/fairytale revamps I've read this year, and unfortunately for The Wolf and the Woodsman it joins its fellow tale counterparts in the "meh" category on my shelf. I don't necessarily think that the book itself is bad - not at all, I seem to be in a small minority here on Goodreads! - it's just that it fell flat for me. My problem with fairytales/retellings/folk tales is this: due to their structure and/or original storylines, the books start off at a strong disadvantage. We know the moves, we can anticipate the betrayals, there is often a strong flavor of morality/religion/"lessons to be taught", and the folk tale-inspired main character is often an archetype that lends themselves to naivety, blandness, or a strong wall of distance between them and us as the reader due to the way they are written. (I picked this up for my sister. She loved this book and asked me to read it. All the things above that I stated as negatives, she stated as positives, so this seems to be relative to the individual reader.) Leaning further in to the reaction vibe of this review, I think it's also worth noting that the historical contexts for this novel (Hungarian history, a strong Jewish cultural and historical element) were extremely well done. I enjoyed those elements and loved seeing Jewish communities displayed in the page—albeit, in their fictionalized versions with some different names/etc. Obviously those themes came in tandem with a larger plot that focused heavily on religion...I was less excited for that as the religion in this tale was extremely patriarchal and hit too close to home in too many areas...but again, this seems to be a personal dislike and not a fault of the novel itself. Also, if you're interested in giving this book a try: get ready for some EXTREME repetition. "You're the wolf girl, I'm the Woodsman." "You are the Woodsman, I'm just a wolf girl." "The wolf girl and her Woodsman." "Hey Woodsman, can you help this wolf girl?" "I am the wolf girl, you are the Woodsman." (Over and over and over and over and—) How many times can I fumble my way through the concept of "it's not you, it's me" in this review? Apparently a lot! Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this review if you made it this far. I had a lot to get off my chest with this one (clearly) so apologies for those who are used to a more well-rounded review. Blog | Instagram

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...