Reviews

The Wolf and the Woodsman, by Ava Reid

abeetata's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

biblionerdrflxns's review

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4.0

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The stunning cover of this book drew me in the second I saw it, and I'm glad it did. There was so much to digest in it that I honestly think a re-read is necessary to truly grasp the many layers of the story. It brilliantly explored the politics of nation-building, and the world-building and mythology aspects of the story were captivating. The magic and faith systems were interesting, yet grotesque, and were a good metaphor for the sacrifices often necessary to achieve greatness or power while also reflecting the very real self-castigating nature of many religious beliefs/practices. The romance was believable and slow-burn, and it allowed the exploration of themes related to overcoming preconceived notions about one's enemies. The book also pointed out the importance of stories and language in both passing on one's heritage and creating a singular national identity. Incredibly heavy topics were tackled, including coming to terms with a history of abuse and oppression and exploration of the types of driving forces of abuse/oppression. The two main characters, Évike and Gáspár, illustrated two very opposing representations of how people cope with long-term abuse, and their journey of understanding their mixed feelings about their homes/oppressors was complex and compelling to read. My only complaints would be the pacing and somewhat repetitive writing, especially in the first half of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and the topics it explored despite the flaws in the writing and pacing. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

joellehannah's review against another edition

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adventurous dark reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

This book was lovely and unique! I love both fantasy and historical fiction and this was such a beautiful marriage of the two. While it can’t be classified as true historical fiction, there were very clear allusions to historical events, social settings, religions, cultures and geographic locations. The references to these histories made me feel SO connected to characters, especially the Jewish community. The parallels to colonialism, ethnic cleansing, antisemitism and more were subtly and expertly integrated into a complex fantasy world. The magical elements were woven really beautifully into cultural/ spiritual practices which made it really believable and engaging. The characters were complex and all experienced satisfying growth. I tend to avoid heavy romance but this had the perfect amount for me.

My one criticism is that the plot was repetitive at some points but not in an effective way. I think that with some additional editing and modifications the plot in the second half of the book could have been clearer and more effective. Overall though I loved this book and am looking forward to what comes next from this brilliant young author!

jalovesbooks's review against another edition

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adventurous dark hopeful sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

mugs_it_is's review against another edition

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Boring, typical high fantasy

jordynsutherland's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

I didn’t love the romance, i felt like there was little to no chemistry. but it was a very interesting read all around. 

dragonwriter's review

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adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75

capricious's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

loreofthebooks's review

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4.0

3.5 stars
I'm always on the hunt for other adult fantasies by woman authors. And this one had rave reviews so I wanted to give it a shot. I enjoyed this book, but I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as others did. I rounded up my 3.5 star rating to a 4, because while I liked it I also didn’t love it! I think it was an overall solid book, but to be honest I feel a lot of it was just fine, nothing outstanding. One of my favorite books of all time is Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, and this was compared to that. They’re not really in the same vein so that is a bit misleading.

However, The Wolf and the Woodsman does some lovely worldbuilding. I was absolutely fascinated by it and felt Reid did a great job at crafting a world. Much of this book is based in history (which I guess is where the Winternight connection comes in) and it’s a history that I don’t know a lot about. However, that didn’t detract from my reading at all. You could tell what bits and pieces were based on real peoples and what countries perhaps were being mentioned.

The one thing I did struggle with was the gory violence in this book. I am not a huge fan of gore so I ended up skimming a lot of those parts of the book, because it was just too much for me to handle, but I think others with stronger stomachs would likely do okay.

I like how she describes this book as a way to show countries forming and how violent that process is, and that’s again, where the history ties in. And it was in this case, violent. There is also some politics in this book, but I felt they were rather minor.

The main focus was on our main couple, and I just felt the romance between them was lackluster and I struggled to believe in the two of them as a couple. I really don’t know why that part didn’t work for me.

The writing in this book was good! I think it was a strong level of writing, and the plot was too. The only other thing I would mention is that the pacing felt a little off for me personally. But that is just a minor thing.

In any case, I liked the book! I think it was a good fantasy read and I look forward to reading more of this author’s works in the future!

megangw's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional tense medium-paced

3.75