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A Wolf for a Spell

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never do The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body! Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all. “Karah Sutton has crafted a vivid and rollicking adventure that proves a wolf doesn’t have to be big or bad to win the day!" —Rosanne Parry, New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander


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The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never do The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body! Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all. “Karah Sutton has crafted a vivid and rollicking adventure that proves a wolf doesn’t have to be big or bad to win the day!" —Rosanne Parry, New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander

30 review for A Wolf for a Spell

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mischenko

    A Wolf for a Spell is a deliciously magical adventure involving wolves, witches, and villagers—all of whom must work together to defeat an evil tsar. The story begins with Zima, a wolf who’s dealing with issues within her own pack. She’s always been told to fear humans, but she isn’t sure what to believe anymore. One thing Zima knows for sure is that it’s not safe to converse with witches, and she’s been given strict orders. After an unforeseen event, Zima is forced to communicate with the forest A Wolf for a Spell is a deliciously magical adventure involving wolves, witches, and villagers—all of whom must work together to defeat an evil tsar. The story begins with Zima, a wolf who’s dealing with issues within her own pack. She’s always been told to fear humans, but she isn’t sure what to believe anymore. One thing Zima knows for sure is that it’s not safe to converse with witches, and she’s been given strict orders. After an unforeseen event, Zima is forced to communicate with the forest witch, Baba Yaga, and discovers there’s real danger on the horizon for all who live in the forest. Concurrently, a young girl named Nadya from a nearby orphanage is puzzled about her friend, Katerina. Katerina has recently left their orphanage to marry, but something just isn’t right, and Nadya knows it. The mystery must be solved, and it’s going to be up to her and some other brave characters to put the pieces together and save their forest. This is such a fascinating story; I could easily read it over and over. I love fairy tales and that’s exactly what this story feels like: a Russian fairy tale. There are multiple points of view throughout the story, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out how these paths were going to converge. All the characters have something to learn and it comes together beautifully in the end. There are themes of friendship, trust, heroism, good vs. evil, and overcoming. The illustrations were unexpected and added a nice touch. Even though they were quite simple—just black and white—they were perfect for the story. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell is a beautifully crafted tale that captivated me from beginning to finish. Middle-grade readers who love fantasy, especially Slavic fairy/folk tales, will fall in love with this book. Honestly, it’s a story for any age. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers. 5***** I’d like to thank NetGalley for sharing this book with me in exchange for my honest review. You can also see this review and others @www.readrantrockandroll.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jade Ratley

    9.00 on CAWPILE.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karah Sutton

    EDIT: Thank you everyone who has read, borrowed, bought, or shared A Wolf for a Spell! I hope it's a warm cozy read for readers young and old. If you enjoyed it, I'd also be forever grateful if you would also share your review on Amazon. You aren't required to have purchased on Amazon in order to review. Thank you, and happy reading! --- EDIT: One week until WOLF is out in the world!! Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed so far. I would love for you all to join me and Gail Carson Levine EDIT: Thank you everyone who has read, borrowed, bought, or shared A Wolf for a Spell! I hope it's a warm cozy read for readers young and old. If you enjoyed it, I'd also be forever grateful if you would also share your review on Amazon. You aren't required to have purchased on Amazon in order to review. Thank you, and happy reading! --- EDIT: One week until WOLF is out in the world!! Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed so far. I would love for you all to join me and Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) in talking about the book on Dec 1, at 7pm ET: https://www.josephbeth.com/event/kara... Also I will be chatting with Rediscovered Books on Dec 3 at 4:30pm MT! They have been huge supporters of WOLF, so I hope to have you there: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rediscov... --- Hi everyone! This book is like a window into my 11 year old brain and a love letter to the Russian fairytales, animals, and adventures I loved then and now. I hope you and your young ones enjoy, and thank you so much for reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pris

    This is everything I love. Polar, magical, animals and slavic folklore. To me this is perfection! 💙❄️

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews

    *** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. *** A Wolf for a Spell was great middle grade fantasy based on Russian folklore that revolved around a wolf-Zima, a human-Nadya, and a witch-Baba Yaga. It was about facing fears and not let it overpower you, doing right things, it’s okay to be different, friendship, belongingness, family, trust, and good vs evil. Plot was interesting. It had Red Ridin *** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. *** A Wolf for a Spell was great middle grade fantasy based on Russian folklore that revolved around a wolf-Zima, a human-Nadya, and a witch-Baba Yaga. It was about facing fears and not let it overpower you, doing right things, it’s okay to be different, friendship, belongingness, family, trust, and good vs evil. Plot was interesting. It had Red Riding Hood feel. All three main female characters were flawed, realistic, and relatable and they all developed wonderfully throughout the story. They all were my favourite but I loved Zima and Nadya’s story more. World was fascinating with witches, animals and villagers all living in and around the magical forest. I enjoyed reading how the forest seemed all consuming and dangerous with deadly streams, poisonous plants, and hidden dark holes to caves in ground that could trap anyone for days and yet it helped everybody living in and around it, gave power and protection to all creatures. Baba Yaga’s loyal egoistic hut was fun to read. Snow storms, evil villain and forbidding palace and its corridors added tension to story. Despite of this dark world it never felt heavy and gloomy as characters were not affected or harmed by it which made it perfect for middle grade readers. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell magical, beautiful, imaginative, and well written fantasy based on Russian folklore with classic good vs evil theme and perfect middle grade and young readers. Read full review on my book blog by following the link- https://booksteacupnreviews.com/2021/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Belles Middle Grade Library

    I loved this book. I’m always nervous reading animal focused books(& I don’t pick up many), especially one’s like this w/wolves-since everything that’s happened w/my pup I just wouldn’t be able to handle anything sad w/wolves(animals). So happy I had nothing to worry about. Wolves are my favorite animal, & I’m so protective of them. So to see such a beautiful story of wolves & animals trying to find a way to live peacefully-loved it. Wolves are SO misunderstood..probably b/c how they are portray I loved this book. I’m always nervous reading animal focused books(& I don’t pick up many), especially one’s like this w/wolves-since everything that’s happened w/my pup I just wouldn’t be able to handle anything sad w/wolves(animals). So happy I had nothing to worry about. Wolves are my favorite animal, & I’m so protective of them. So to see such a beautiful story of wolves & animals trying to find a way to live peacefully-loved it. Wolves are SO misunderstood..probably b/c how they are portrayed usually on tv & in some stories. Wolves are rarely aggressive towards people. When around people, wolves are actually timid & shy. They need our protection against idiots who hunt & kill them. So I instantly fell in love w/all of these wolves. I loved Zima so much, & everything she does. I think Veter has my heart though. Along w/Nadya, who I could relate w/a lot. I also loved the Baba Yaga/House w/Chicken Legs/Russian folklore of the story. Russian folklore is always so fascinating to me. In the author’s note, she says that 1 that heavily inspired this story is Tsarevich Ivan, the firebird, & the Gray Wolf-so definitely looking that 1 up. She also, I just noticed, says something similar to what I said above about wolves. Makes me love this book even more, & want to support her as an author even more. I highly recommend this. It’s a magical adventure that has wolves, Baba Yaga w/a house w/chicken legs, & villagers who all have to come together to defeat the evil that wants to destroy the forest forever. I can see this being a classic fairytale 1 day-that’s exactly how it reads. A beautiful fairytale w/so much heart. Absolutely FULL of stunning illustrations throughout by Pauliina Hannuniemi to go w/the beautiful cover. LOVED THIS!💜

  7. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thank you to NetGalley, Karah Sutton (author), Pauliina Hannuniemi (illustrator), Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read A Wolf for a Spell in exchange for an honest review. This book is full of Russian lore, mythology, and fairy tale elements. It almost has a "Little Red Riding Hood" feel to it in the beginning, as wolf Zima sees a girl with a red hood in the forest and chooses not to kill her, despite what Zima's pack leader orders. Nadya, the gir Thank you to NetGalley, Karah Sutton (author), Pauliina Hannuniemi (illustrator), Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read A Wolf for a Spell in exchange for an honest review. This book is full of Russian lore, mythology, and fairy tale elements. It almost has a "Little Red Riding Hood" feel to it in the beginning, as wolf Zima sees a girl with a red hood in the forest and chooses not to kill her, despite what Zima's pack leader orders. Nadya, the girl with the red hood, lives at an orphanage in a nearby village. An older orphan girl that Nadya looks up to as a sister is being taken by the tsar to be wed. Nadya is hoping to be a good girl, to stay away from the forest so she can prove herself and join Katerina at the palace. When Katerina is taken, Nadya decides to visit Baba Yaga, a witch who lives in the forest, to get a gift to take to the tsar so she will be accepted. Meanwhile, Baba Yaga made a terrible mistake with the tsars of the past and needs to fix it before it is too late. The current tsar is not the true heir, and he has some shady plans in the works when it comes to Katerina and Baba Yaga. In order for Baba Yaga to fix her mistake, she must switch bodies with a wolf, and Zima just happens to need help, thus offering herself for exchange. Zima knows nothing of being human. When Nadya seeks Baba Yaga's help, she has no clue that the Baba Yaga she sees is actually a wolf inside the witch's body! Despite not knowing how she can help, Zima, in Baba Yaga's body, offers to help Nadya if Nadya can promise to call off the big wedding hunt the tsar has planned. Zima must unite the forest witch, the wolves, and the people of the villages to bring light and happiness back to the land. This is a very cute story that is easy to read and full of fairy tale magic. It is perfect for middle grade readers, but can be enjoyed by high school age, as well as adults who just need a touch of whimsy in their day. I enjoyed the magical feel of this book, the bit of nostalgia it brings to known fairy tales, and the way it provides its own new fairy tale to tell.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenn of The Bookish Society

    Rarely do I read a book for Middle Grade and think immediately about gifting it to everyone I know. The Russian folktale pulls the reader through a high staked multiple viewpoint adventure through the woods. Kids who haven't read any of the Baba Yaga myths are in for a treat. The animal POV reminded me of a bit of Pax by Sara Pennypacker if that book had magic. In this book, You get three rotating points of view, a girl, a wolf, and a witch. All of them have significant problems that they need t Rarely do I read a book for Middle Grade and think immediately about gifting it to everyone I know. The Russian folktale pulls the reader through a high staked multiple viewpoint adventure through the woods. Kids who haven't read any of the Baba Yaga myths are in for a treat. The animal POV reminded me of a bit of Pax by Sara Pennypacker if that book had magic. In this book, You get three rotating points of view, a girl, a wolf, and a witch. All of them have significant problems that they need to solve, and the background of the Russian forest is just ideal when they join together. The magical forest and the quirky witches home keep the scariness to a minimum, all the while building up to a satisfying conclusion. It is on my holiday shortlist as a perfect gift book this year.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received this as an advance copy via NetGalley. A Wolf for a Spell spins Russian folklore around Baba Yaga into a fun new middle grade book. It follows a number of strong characters: Zima, a young wolf desperate for respect from her pack; Nadya, a young orphan who is sad her dear friend is marrying the tsar and yearns for a family of her own; and Baba Yaga, the magic-wielding old woman who is trying to save the woods before all is lost. Zima strikes a deal the Baba Yaga, and the two end up switc I received this as an advance copy via NetGalley. A Wolf for a Spell spins Russian folklore around Baba Yaga into a fun new middle grade book. It follows a number of strong characters: Zima, a young wolf desperate for respect from her pack; Nadya, a young orphan who is sad her dear friend is marrying the tsar and yearns for a family of her own; and Baba Yaga, the magic-wielding old woman who is trying to save the woods before all is lost. Zima strikes a deal the Baba Yaga, and the two end up switching bodies. Nadya goes to find Baba Yaga for help, and ends up working with the changed-wolf to confront the tsar and save the woods. This is a tale with lots of twists and turns. I found it pretty fun, though the number of names left me confused at times. The tsar also came across as a very one-note bad guy; I wish he’d had more nuance. Still, a fun read, and a good way to introduce kids to Baba Yaga and her delightful chicken-footed house.

  10. 4 out of 5

    KTReads

    This was a lot of fun! I really loved the folklore and Russian mythology incorporated in the story and I think that was my favorite part. I loved the atmosphere and I think that having an animal as a main character was really interesting. My main problem was following the plot. The plot took a while to kick off and be clear and once it got going it was a bit hard to follow. I also thought that because two of the characters switched bodies at some point in this book it was hard to determine who w This was a lot of fun! I really loved the folklore and Russian mythology incorporated in the story and I think that was my favorite part. I loved the atmosphere and I think that having an animal as a main character was really interesting. My main problem was following the plot. The plot took a while to kick off and be clear and once it got going it was a bit hard to follow. I also thought that because two of the characters switched bodies at some point in this book it was hard to determine who was who. There is a difference at the beginning of the chapters but because they are referred to as who they are and not their body I got confused a lot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    The BookSnom

    I am not a big reader of middle grade, but I decided to give this one a try mostly because it’s a retelling of Baba Yaga, a character from Slavic folklore. For those who don’t know me, I come from Romania, which is between a bunch of East European Slavic countries so we do share part of those myths and legends. I haven’t grown up with stories of Baba Yaga, mostly because my Grandma had her own original stories, that she knew from her grandma and so on. But this book made me go back to those cold I am not a big reader of middle grade, but I decided to give this one a try mostly because it’s a retelling of Baba Yaga, a character from Slavic folklore. For those who don’t know me, I come from Romania, which is between a bunch of East European Slavic countries so we do share part of those myths and legends. I haven’t grown up with stories of Baba Yaga, mostly because my Grandma had her own original stories, that she knew from her grandma and so on. But this book made me go back to those cold winters when I would sneak with my little brother in her room and she will start telling us fantastic stories half asleep after a day of hard work. The characters are completely amazing and well written, I enjoyed, in particular, Zima’s POV in Baba Yaga’s body and that somehow it gave me exactly the feeling of a wolf experiencing the human world for the first time. Baba Yaga personifies here one of my favorite tropes, the morally grey character, who’s done some bad, looking to fix it, and you are not sure if you should root from them or not. I do really have trouble finding any kind of faults to this story, while I had a hard time at the beginning with Zima’s POV, and the fact that you are thrown right into it doesn’t help a bit after I got used to it the story had an amazing flow. I honesty was caught up completely, this book has that timeless placeless feeling that fairytales usually have. It does also has a very straightforward plot common to the genre, where the good always triumphs at the end. This was not a problem for me, as I expected it, and is honestly part of the charm with fairytales. In the end, this was a very enjoyable read, and will probably recommend this in the future to middle-grade kids and adults alike.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paige Marie

    This book was amazing from start to finish. The illustrations were so beautiful! A favorite so far this year!! Highly recommend!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather - hturningpages

    Rating: 4/5 grumpy ravens Format: E-book/Audiobook. I’d like to thank Karah Sutton and Random House Children’s for a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review! I went back and forth with the ebook and audiobook while reading. To sum up: In this is a reimagining of Baba Yaga, a wolf makes an unlikely bargain with the witch to save her brother. This bargain has a price, however, which requires the wolf, Zima, and Baba Yaga to switch physical forms temporarily. This leaves Zima in a position Rating: 4/5 grumpy ravens Format: E-book/Audiobook. I’d like to thank Karah Sutton and Random House Children’s for a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review! I went back and forth with the ebook and audiobook while reading. To sum up: In this is a reimagining of Baba Yaga, a wolf makes an unlikely bargain with the witch to save her brother. This bargain has a price, however, which requires the wolf, Zima, and Baba Yaga to switch physical forms temporarily. This leaves Zima in a position she never thought she would find herself in, but she quickly becomes involved in a quest to save her pack and to save the forest she lives in. Woven through this tale, Baba Yaga attempts to fix an old mistake, and protect a boy that saved her in the forest. Lastly, this is also the tale of a young girl in the village, Nadya, who just wants to run away from the orphanage she grew up in, but her best friend Katarina, and the Tsar’s betrothed, has promised her a place in the palace if she can behave herself (easier said than done!). When Katarina falls ill before her wedding, Nadya is determined to figure out what has happened to her friend and nurse her back to health. These stories are woven together so that by the end, all of them will be needed in order to save Baba Yaga’s magic and to restore peace between the forest and humankind. Review: This was such a sweet and whimsical story. The POVs were rich, funny, and unique, and the way that they all became woven together in the plot was beautiful! I loved how the story unfolded and how the characters came together. The setting was also richly detailed and beautifully rendered. I felt like I was being told this tale at a fireside as snow fell outside! Lastly, I loved the themes in this book, the search for belonging, standing up for your sense of home and family, new unlikely friendships, and confronting old prejudices and fear. Overall, I thought this was a really sweet and engaging tale! I think all ages would enjoy this one (MG-adult) and it would be a fun one to read as a family.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    This book is AMAZING. I was a little leery about reading a middle grade book (at the ripe old age of 35...), but I adore Baba Yaga and when I read the back cover blurb I knew I needed to read this book. I can't believe this is Karah Sutton's debut novel!! This intriguing, magical story of a wolf, a girl, and and a witch is written for middle grade readers, and is so well told and that it's enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Told in the limited third-person past tense, A Wolf For A Spell altern This book is AMAZING. I was a little leery about reading a middle grade book (at the ripe old age of 35...), but I adore Baba Yaga and when I read the back cover blurb I knew I needed to read this book. I can't believe this is Karah Sutton's debut novel!! This intriguing, magical story of a wolf, a girl, and and a witch is written for middle grade readers, and is so well told and that it's enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Told in the limited third-person past tense, A Wolf For A Spell alternates between the point of view of Zima (a young female wolf), Nadya (a young orphan girl), and Baba Yaga (a notorious witch, whom you may have heard of...). The threads of their stories are so intricately woven to create a beautiful tapestry of a tale that is, at heart, about finding the courage within yourself. If this is what Karah Sutton brings to the table for her debut, I can't wait to see what she writes next! This is definitely a debut author to watch. A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own. Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter

  15. 5 out of 5

    DeAnne

    *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I'm so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I'm so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as well as other characters go through transformations. There's a lot of narrative about not taking things at face value and forming their own opinions/decisions. There's also a lot about learning to face your fears or rise above fear when you feel it. I absolutely flew through this story and was engrossed the entire time I was reading it. I did not want to put it down since I was so absorbed. The style of writing was easy to read and just kept me hooked the whole time.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sigelakis-Minski

    See full review on my blog, Sam's Beach Reads. I was so excited to receive this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Children’s because it has so many things that I love: Russian mythology, an animal narrator, and a spooky forest. One of my favorite ARCS I’ve ever gotten from Netgalley was Bear and the Nightingale, a YA historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell is even more exciting to me to a certain extent (despite my lack of experience with middle grade books), because of Baba Yag See full review on my blog, Sam's Beach Reads. I was so excited to receive this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Children’s because it has so many things that I love: Russian mythology, an animal narrator, and a spooky forest. One of my favorite ARCS I’ve ever gotten from Netgalley was Bear and the Nightingale, a YA historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell is even more exciting to me to a certain extent (despite my lack of experience with middle grade books), because of Baba Yaga!! What I Loved: The Split Narrative. Normally, I am not a fan of split narrative. It distracts the reader, gets confusing, and often, writers use it as a tool to have the reader be omniscient. It also usually results in weird time gaps that make no sense, so the reader has no idea how far along in the story they are. In Wolf for a Spell, Sutton does a really good job of showing instead of telling. Nadya, Zima, and Baba Yaga all have a role in a larger plot, and each of them is equally important. The satisfying conclusion could not have happened if not for each of these strong female characters doing exactly what they did when they did it. Strong Female Characters. Without being redundant, I think that Zima, Baba Yaga, and Nadya each deserve a call out for being really well-written, flawed but relatable. Zima is a wolf who has the wellbeing of her pack at the forefront, who is willing to risk losing herself to Baba Yaga to save her brother, and who can recognize that humans are not the ultimate enemy. Baba Yaga wants to save the forest at all costs, but learns that she hasn’t been listening to the forest’s needs until she meets other people. And Nadya is a brave little girl who saves her friend and the forest, and does so despite being neglected. I also love her goal of learning the forest in and out. The Worldbuild. Sutton sets the stage for the reader to enter medieval Russia, a cold place where tsars are made through bloodshed and the forests seem all consuming. The snowstorms are fierce, the people are gritty, and things can kill you quite easily. However, Sutton also keeps it light in that these things are shown, without the characters being adversely affected by it (no one dies in the snow, or gets eaten by wolves in-page). This strikes a good balance for a middle grade book, so the reader can get the ambiance without being scarred for life. What Didn’t Work as Well: The Pacing. This is a minor problem, since I think overall Wolf for a Spell was paced well, but I did think that the beginning to middle of the book flew by, while the last half was slower. For me, it was fine, but for a younger reader, it may make more sense to space the action sequences further apart to keep interest engaged. I would have also made each section a little longer so the reader gets to spend time with each character more. That is really it as far as negatives go. I am unused to reviewing middle grade books, but from the perspective of a younger reader, this hits all the right notes. Bottom Line: I would buy this for my niece in a heartbeat if she was old enough. Wolf for a Spell is a great way to introduce younger readers to Russian mythology and a kid-friendly way to bring in Baba Yaga, who has a bit of an infamous legacy in Russian canon. I loved the animal narrator, since it teaches children empathy for other creatures, and also has some good lessons about the environment and nature. Bonus, it comes with some gorgeous illustrations. Favorite quote: I am the forest. It flows through me. And now, I will flow through it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frankie Lovely

    I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review A Wolf for a Spell 3.5 stars What I like This story was a truly wonderful fairytale read that is great for all ages. This reads more middle grade than YA, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I thought this book grazed some important and inspiring topics while also crafting a mildly dark and unique fairytale. This book was easy to read and easy to enjoy. What I did not like There is nothing in particular that I didn't like I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review A Wolf for a Spell 3.5 stars What I like This story was a truly wonderful fairytale read that is great for all ages. This reads more middle grade than YA, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I thought this book grazed some important and inspiring topics while also crafting a mildly dark and unique fairytale. This book was easy to read and easy to enjoy. What I did not like There is nothing in particular that I didn't like about this book. Not specifically. It was enjoyable but there was nothing truly fascinating about it. In Conclusion A fun easy fairytale that I would recommend especially for middle grade or even for children who are not easily frightened by stories that take place in the dark woods at night.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Many thanks to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for the ARC. If A Wolf for a Spell had existed when I was a kid, it probably would have been one of my favorites. This Middle Grade novel based on Russian fairy tales has everything I could possibly want: wolves, magic, a plucky young heroine, and (did I mention?) fairy tales. It's a story that will entrance any fantasy loving child and that's equally enjoyable for adults. It also features gorgeous illustrations Many thanks to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for the ARC. If A Wolf for a Spell had existed when I was a kid, it probably would have been one of my favorites. This Middle Grade novel based on Russian fairy tales has everything I could possibly want: wolves, magic, a plucky young heroine, and (did I mention?) fairy tales. It's a story that will entrance any fantasy loving child and that's equally enjoyable for adults. It also features gorgeous illustrations by Finnish artist Pauliina Hannuniemi. I am officially obsessed with her art. It's so beautiful! Look at that cover! The illustrations match the story perfectly. I'd love to see what they look like in a print edition instead of on an e-reader. My favorite thing about the book was, of course, all the fairy tale elements. Readers familiar with even just the most basic Russian fairy tales will recognize Baba Yaga, her hut, the gray wolf, and Ivan. There's also a slight nod to "Vasilisa the Beautiful" with Katerina's magic doll. However, I wouldn't quite call this book a retelling. From what I can tell, the plot is entirely original, and Sutton puts her own take on the familiar characters. Zima is entirely different from the Gray Wolf who appears in Russian fairy tales, and Sutton opts to use Baba Yaga as a magical helper rather than as a villain. This isn't unprecedented in fairy tales; she appears as a helper in several tales, but it seems she's more well-known as a villain. The story is told in the limited third person, and we rotate between Zima, Nadya, and Baba Yaga as the point of view characters. It was great to see three strong female characters working together due to their love for the forest. Zima was my favorite, mainly because I love wolves but also because of her dedication to protecting her family and home. I also loved that Baba Yaga is included as one of the three major protagonists. A character like her would usually be a side character, someone to give the heroine information and help her out of a few scrapes. Having her as a point of view character was fantastic. I did feel the development of certain characters was lacking a bit. By the end, I knew Zima and Nadya and even Katerina quite well. I never quite felt the same way about Baba Yaga; I wanted to know more about her. But the lack of development was most noticeable in the villain, Tsar Aleksander. He feels flat and just evil for the sake of being evil. I never got a good idea of his motivations. This didn't bother me too much because it is in keeping with the fairy tale feel of the novel, but I would have liked to see a little more. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell is a beautifully illustrated fairy tale that is perfect for any fantasy loving child and can be enjoyed just as much by an adult.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nym

    Hear me out. Baba Yaga. Wolves. And illustrations. Got that? Okay. Let's begin. For all you Baba Yaga lovers out there, this is the book for you. Anyone who knows me is aware of my love, fascination, and adoration for all things Baba Yaga. Naturally, I had very high expectations for this book, and it easily delivered. I won't rehash the plot; that's generally not what my reviews do. But this book borrows heavily on many different aspects of Russian folklore, with Baba Yaga at our forefront. We rea Hear me out. Baba Yaga. Wolves. And illustrations. Got that? Okay. Let's begin. For all you Baba Yaga lovers out there, this is the book for you. Anyone who knows me is aware of my love, fascination, and adoration for all things Baba Yaga. Naturally, I had very high expectations for this book, and it easily delivered. I won't rehash the plot; that's generally not what my reviews do. But this book borrows heavily on many different aspects of Russian folklore, with Baba Yaga at our forefront. We read from three different points of view: Zima, a wolf; Baba Yaga; Nadya, a child. At first, it's hard to see how all three perspectives could possibly work together in one story. But as you read, it becomes clear how their paths need to converge. I would have liked more chapters from her point of view, I won't lie. But I thought it was very amusing reading Zima's perspective while trapped in her body. Given that, I'm content. If you're interested in Russian folklore, I highly recommend this book to you. I feel that the author did a very good job with it. She also did a fantastic job foreshadowing events throughout the novel. She even threw in a couple twists that I wasn't expecting, which made it exciting. And don't even get me started on the illustrations. Books with illustrations instantly increase my enjoyment of the book. The art style felt very fitting, and I loved how many there were! I'm not talking just one or two illustrations in the whole thing. There was one for nearly every chapter. And there are MANY chapters, for it being such a short book. That's another thing; I love short chapters, so that worked perfectly for me. The only thing keeping me from giving this book five stars is the fact that I wanted more from it. Some parts of the plot felt a little too convenient or underdeveloped. Though I think that largely has to do with this being a middle grade novel. So the level of detail I sometimes expect from adult novels will be lacking because this is directed towards a younger audience who would either be bored or confused by the details I seek. Baba Yaga retellings are far and few between, so watch me read every single one of them and LOVE them. This shall happily join the few others on my shelf, and I will remember it fondly.

  20. 5 out of 5

    yelenska

    I don't know about you, but I've always been interested in Russian folklore (or should I say, everything Russian related, namely the language, the country's history, the folklore). So, when I heard that this middle grade book involves both Baba Yaga and an animal, I didn't want to pass on the opportunity! The book cover and the illustrations inside made me even more excited about this book, much needed during this reading slump of mine. And I was not disappointed, on the contrary. In this book, w I don't know about you, but I've always been interested in Russian folklore (or should I say, everything Russian related, namely the language, the country's history, the folklore). So, when I heard that this middle grade book involves both Baba Yaga and an animal, I didn't want to pass on the opportunity! The book cover and the illustrations inside made me even more excited about this book, much needed during this reading slump of mine. And I was not disappointed, on the contrary. In this book, we follow three main characters: Zima, a wolf who has always been taught to fear and distrust humans; Baba Yaga, a witch from the forest who is known to be threatening to both humans and wolves; and Nadya, an orphan who loves going into the forest and feeding a lone wolf. One day, Zima must go against her instincts and knock at Baba Yaga's door to ask for her immediate help. The witch accepts, but in exchange for her help the two must switch bodies. Zima accepts because she wants to save her family, and poof! Baba Yaga is gone, having just left Zima with the following instructions: she musn't speak to anyone, and she cannot leave the house. Obviously, things don't go as planned and Zima soon becomes an ally to Nadya, who thinks she is the real Baba Yaga. Together they will face many dangers, namely a common enemy. This was such a comforting read that got me out of my reading slump. If you feel like reading a children's book and you like Russian folklore, please do give a chance to this book. The writing is very good, the story is cute and the illustrations are absolutely stunning (artist name: Pauliina Hannuniemi). I have included some of them in this post if you want to take a look. An easy five star read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Divya

    A Wolf for a Spell follows the story of Zima, a wolf who is extremely wary of humans. However, fate leads to Zima exchanging her body with Baba Yaga’s for a certain period of time- for a reason. Will Baba Yaga get to complete her goal, and does Zima get to return back to her body? This book is so cute, I JUST CANNOT. AAARGH. I have read more than a few middlegrade gems this year, but this one certainly takes the cake for me! Whimsical stories are my jam. I’ve always been fascinated with the Baba Y A Wolf for a Spell follows the story of Zima, a wolf who is extremely wary of humans. However, fate leads to Zima exchanging her body with Baba Yaga’s for a certain period of time- for a reason. Will Baba Yaga get to complete her goal, and does Zima get to return back to her body? This book is so cute, I JUST CANNOT. AAARGH. I have read more than a few middlegrade gems this year, but this one certainly takes the cake for me! Whimsical stories are my jam. I’ve always been fascinated with the Baba Yaga stories, but this was my first time actually reading one related to it. And this was my first Russian folklore book too! Yay! I loved the fairy tales vibes. Honestly. From Zima being turned into a human who can start speaking immediately to Baba Yaga’s final plan, everything was seemingly non-complicated and that’s what I like the best about middlegrade. It’s like a breath of fresh air! I absolutely adored the huge cast of characters, from Zima to Baba Yaga to Veter to Nadya and EVERYBODY ELSE. Also, look at the ABSOLUTE GORGEOUSNESS that is the cover of this book! I’m dying to hold this in my hands. The story was incredibly quick paced, and is very engrossing. The ending though, hit me hard omg. It was just so perfect that I had to close my kindle and just stare at the wall in front for me for a whole five minutes. This book would be perfect for anyone who’s looking for a light, captivating, and charming little fairytale! Definitely recommend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Candyce Kirk

    A Wolf for a Spell was my first time reading a Baba Yaga retelling and I highly enjoyed this book. It's clear this book has been influence by Russian fairy tales and I loved how everything comes together. Karah Sutton created a world I really enjoyed and could really see as I was reading the book. I really appreciated the 3 POVs in this story. For me it really help keep the story going and me wondering how they were all going to come together. In A Wolf for a Spell we follow Zima (a wolf), Nadya A Wolf for a Spell was my first time reading a Baba Yaga retelling and I highly enjoyed this book. It's clear this book has been influence by Russian fairy tales and I loved how everything comes together. Karah Sutton created a world I really enjoyed and could really see as I was reading the book. I really appreciated the 3 POVs in this story. For me it really help keep the story going and me wondering how they were all going to come together. In A Wolf for a Spell we follow Zima (a wolf), Nadya and the witch Baba Yaga. All three of these characters are stronger than they realize and plan on fighting for what they believe in. None of them plan on sitting around doing nothing. My favorite thing about middle grade books are the lessons we often find in them. I really believe A Wolf for a Spell shows us to believe in ourselves and family isn't always blood. In the end our main characters come together to fight evil and it shows that not all is what it seems. Wolves, witches and humans can come together to make everything right. For me A Wolf for a Spell was a magical adventure that I'll definitely revisit in the future. I really hope Karah Sutton writes more magical middle grade books. Her writing style and imagination made this book a great read. Add some really nice illustrations throughout this book and I was a happy bookworm. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by this author.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brandy {The Review Booth}

    I love Russian folklore, so naturally I was beyond excited to join the tour and read this middle grade fantasy. This version of Baba Yaga was the most positive light I have seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her this way. One of my favorite things was one of her modes of travel – a mortar and pestle that could take flight. The illustration for it was even better! I was not expecting illustrations but they are rustic and lovely. They also provide illustrative breaks for younger readers t I love Russian folklore, so naturally I was beyond excited to join the tour and read this middle grade fantasy. This version of Baba Yaga was the most positive light I have seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her this way. One of my favorite things was one of her modes of travel – a mortar and pestle that could take flight. The illustration for it was even better! I was not expecting illustrations but they are rustic and lovely. They also provide illustrative breaks for younger readers to look at and enjoy. I loved seeing the intertwining relationships and their importance throughout the book. Once each character ceased attempting to use force and let situations guide them, it brought them all to exactly where they needed to be. Zima and Baba Yaga learned the most about themselves throughout A Wolf for a Spell, heightened by the fact that they switched bodies. Even though Baba Yaga thought she was prepared for the outcome – she wasn’t. The supporting characters were also well done, I didn’t feel like they lacked depth or reasons behind what they were doing in the story. My favorite was the snarky raven – so much sass for a bird. A Wolf for a Spell is a beautiful tale with beautiful illustrations about finding your true path, making the right choices (and how to make up for them if you don’t), and how good found family and a place to belong can feel. I would highly recommend reading this book to those who enjoy middle grade, folklore, fairytales, and fantasy. I would like to thank TBR and Beyond Tours and Karah Sutton for the chance to read a digital ARC of A Wolf for a Spell – all opinions are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    4.5/5 A Wolf for a Spell is a fantastic fairy tale. While not quite a retelling of previous fairy tales, it's definitely inspired by tales of Baba Yaga and the grey wolf. I loved this version of the grey wolf, Zima is well fleshed out and I loved her time in the castle. If I'm honest, I think it was a mistake to have parts of the book from Nadya's POV. She's just not that strong a character and it took away from Baba Yaga and Katerina's stories. I think Katerina should have been the POV instead. I 4.5/5 A Wolf for a Spell is a fantastic fairy tale. While not quite a retelling of previous fairy tales, it's definitely inspired by tales of Baba Yaga and the grey wolf. I loved this version of the grey wolf, Zima is well fleshed out and I loved her time in the castle. If I'm honest, I think it was a mistake to have parts of the book from Nadya's POV. She's just not that strong a character and it took away from Baba Yaga and Katerina's stories. I think Katerina should have been the POV instead. I think that would have allowed me to sink deeper into the story. Overall, this is a sweet book but I think it should have been a few pages longer to really give it that richness it seemed to be aiming for.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    3.5/5 I'm a sucker for Baba Yaga tales, so this one was right up my alley. Luckily though this wasn't as terrifying as most Baba Yaga tales can go and it's perfect for older kids/younger MG. It's delightful and has the feel of a traditional fairytale and not to mention it also has a huge case of wonderfully strong, kind, and grave female characters, both 2-legged and 4-legged! The pacing was good, not too slow but enough chapters that a lot developed over the course of time. A fun read! Thanks to 3.5/5 I'm a sucker for Baba Yaga tales, so this one was right up my alley. Luckily though this wasn't as terrifying as most Baba Yaga tales can go and it's perfect for older kids/younger MG. It's delightful and has the feel of a traditional fairytale and not to mention it also has a huge case of wonderfully strong, kind, and grave female characters, both 2-legged and 4-legged! The pacing was good, not too slow but enough chapters that a lot developed over the course of time. A fun read! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jess d'Artagnan

    This book read like a classic fairy tale in that the characters were a bit surface level and the main purpose of the story seemed to be to teach important lessons about life. It was definitely plot-driven and the story built nicely to an exciting resolution at the end. The prose was lovely and also very reminiscent of a classic fairy tale. I loved the magic and whimsy of the forest setting and baba yaga's hut was just perfection. This was well worth reading and the illustrations are gorgeous. This book read like a classic fairy tale in that the characters were a bit surface level and the main purpose of the story seemed to be to teach important lessons about life. It was definitely plot-driven and the story built nicely to an exciting resolution at the end. The prose was lovely and also very reminiscent of a classic fairy tale. I loved the magic and whimsy of the forest setting and baba yaga's hut was just perfection. This was well worth reading and the illustrations are gorgeous.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison (SPELLBOUND READER)

    Thank you Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. . Middle grade books that can be loved by readers of all ages are my favorites! A Wolf for a Spell is odd, charming, cozy book with a dash of whimsy. Would recommend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    A well told story. I loved the three POVs of wolf, Baba Yaga, and Nadya.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rafaela (dragonsandpaperbacks)

    Review coming soon.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    This was so great. Russian folktale characters and magic and forests and wolves all come to life in this story. Imparts a heartfelt and positive message.

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