What an amazing debut! When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed to get my hands on it.
It’s based on Hungarian history and Jewish mythology. The story follows Evekie, a so-called wolf-girl who lives in a pagan village in the middle of a forest. Every couple of years, the Holy Order of the Woodsmen come to collect a wolf-girl to bring back to their king, and this year, they come for Evekie. But Evekie soon realizes that the captain is actually the prince Gaspar, who’s trying to keep his bastard, blood-lusting brother from taking the throne and causing genocide. And Gaspar soon realizes that Evekie is not what she seems: she’s the only wolf-girl who’s barren of magic.
This book has pretty much everything I look for in a story. I’m a sucker for creepy forests, and not only do the woods in this story have dark magic and creepy monsters, but walking trees! The story is rich with stories and a tangle of three different religions. The plot and the religions echo history, and the Yehuli people are a stand-in for the Jewish people, which makes the story all the richer and more meaningful.
I loved that Evekie is 25; I’m always on the hunt for more new adult stories. I loved the Prince Zuko vibes of Gaspar, and the way their relationship often reminded me of Jon Snow and Ygritte from Game of Thrones.
I haven’t even talked about Reid’s writing yet! Her prose is absolutely gorgeous and lyrical. Even when she’s writing about dismemberment and blood (which happens quite often, as the plot of this book is brutal) her writing is still beautiful. The way she carves images and the landscape on the page is *chef’s kiss*.
TW: Self mutilation, abuse/child abuse, animal harm/death, murder, war, coded-antisemitism, genocide and ethnic cleansing, amputation