The Wolf and the Woodsman
By Ava Reid
Author Website: avasreid(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro
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. (Goodreads)
“If girls can be wolves, can’t men be beasts?”
The Wolf and the Woodsman is a book of adventure and fairytales with a girl determined to save her village and loved ones by angering the gods. At the beginning of the story, Évike is an outcast in her village. She resents everyone else for the magic abilities she doesn’t have and does not hide her temper or her rebellious personality. But once she is forced to take upon the disguise of the village’s seer, Évike complies, knowing the consequences.
Évike has no magic, and once in the woods her survival instinct kicks in. All those years of training and teaching herself how to survive without magic, finally comes in handy. As her cover is revealed, Évike finds the way to stay alive and strike a bargain with the surviving Woodsman. The scared Évike that left the village as a sacrifice begins to find her way through life and the bigger conflicts outside her small village.
This book has so much action packed fantasy scenes and stories within the story, that I want an additional book where I can read all the stories Évike and other characters would tell each other. When Évike leaves her village she travels through the woods where she and the Woodsmen encounter several creatures, all which were very interestingly described. Eventually, Évike’s journey changes and she comes across many thrilling obstacles including finding her own magic and a new vision of life.
The Wolf and the Woodsman is my favorite fantasy book of the year. I was invested in the characters, the story, the history within the book, and how they would defeat the bad guy. Évike’s journey takes her away from her village thinking that without magic she wouldn’t survive, but she demonstrates abilities that help her more than magic she once wished for.
Along the way, she meets people that attempt to hurt her and others that she eventually trusts and learns from, and some old enemies become allies. It was also interesting to learn everything that happens when the wolf girls are taken to the capital, along with all the lore the capital people believe in. Definitely a book with so many details and rich background plot.
If you’re looking for a fantasy story with great action and interesting scenes, then The Wolf and the Woodsman is for you.