The Wolf and the Woodsman

Harper Voyager. Jun. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780062973122. $27.99. FANTASY
DEBUT Lacking magical powers, Évike has never been valued by her village. When the king’s Woodsmen come to the village for a human tribute, Évike’s foster mother offers her up. The Woodsmen take Évike on a long, hard journey to the city, during which she and the crew’s one-eyed captain slowly come to rely on each other. It comes out that he is Gáspár, the heir to the king. But Gáspár’s bastard half-brother wants the throne, and their evil tyrant of a father is likely to acquiesce. Should Évike help Gáspár? He might be her best hope to save herself, her long-lost father, and her persecuted Yehuli community.
VERDICT This dark, YA-crossover, coming-of-age fairy tale really only has its Eastern European atmosphere going for it. The action focuses almost exclusively on Évike and Gáspár, who are very two-dimensional. Readers expecting something like the Grishaverse or Naomi Novik’s books will be disappointed.
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