Blog Tour: The Wolf and the Woodsman

Today, I’m really excited to be participating in the blog tour for The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid. Thank you so much to Rachel Kennedy at Del Rey UK for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review and inviting me onto this blog tour.

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.

TW: magic requiring self harm, blood, body horror, eye horror, gore, dismemberment, torture, antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, child abuse, animal death

Goodreads | Waterstones

My Thoughts:

This was such a gorgeously written, rich and dark adult fantasy, expertly weaving elements of Jewish mythology and Hungarian history.  

Évike was an excellent protagonist, flawed and fractured by her position in society and her struggle with her identity. I loved how complex she was, with her past informing her actions. She’s neither completely good nor completely evil and that greyness of her morality really intrigued me. Reid shows that the world doesn’t often work in the black and white categorisation, there’s far more shades in between. Similarly, Gáspár is a deeply flawed and complicated character. His motivations are slowly revealed, as are the added elements to his character. I liked how both main characters had good character development over the course of the book. The dynamic between them was ever-changing and shifting, as they both battled to survive in a world that rejects them.  

Reid’s strong invocation of grey morality infused the story with a philosophical mediation on the nature of evil and a nature-nurture debate. There’s a sense of the rippling effects of the past and the traumas it may hold on both main characters. However, the villains of the book are down right despicable and I appreciated how Reid wove in elements of real life historical oppression and destruction of marginalised communities through dehumanisation and abhorrent acts. 

The world around her was so well crafted and I really enjoyed how Reid delved into complex court politics and meditations on power and religion. It offered up so many thought-provoking questions and discussion points around wider issues. The writing has this intangible gorgeous quality that added a rich layer to the story. It never held back, but also made you feel completely immersed in this creatively imagined world. This felt like such a strong debut and I’d be beyond excited to read Reid’s next offering. 

The Wolf and the Woodsman was a thought-provoking, challenging story full of morally gray characters and a rich, original and fantastical world.

Thank you again to Rachel Kennedy and Del Rey UK for including me and make sure you check out the other superb posts on the blog tour.

5 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The Wolf and the Woodsman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s