The Will and the Wilds eARC Review

 

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

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GoodReads:
Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.
Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.
Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

My Review

A fairytale at heart, reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast with some delightful twists. I loved the mysting creatures and how many different ones there were. The world-building was intriguing in regards to the mystings and humans.

[The Mystics actually reminded me a lot of the creatures in Spiderwick Chronicles, I think it was the woods and the creatures combined that made me think of the similarities.]

Though I did feel I enjoyed this, quite a lot of the story was filler which was unfortunate. There wasn’t a lot of progress with the storyline and it felt stagnant because of that. The MC was likeable but there was something missing from her, she felt not quite fleshed out, as the story felt like a filler, so did a lot of her actions. I wish we would have spent more time in ‘The Deep and that we could have gotten to know our MC, Enna, more.

Enna’s in this amazingly isolated world that her father and she have built, and we get glimpses of that but not enough to really give it the attention I think it deserves. Of course, half of it is circumstance, Enna can’t be in two places at once but some of it is also the ‘not being fleshed out’ that I felt was the main core of my problem reading it.

I really wish I could have learned about her father more, or her mom even but I know this is me having a personal preference rather than it being a ‘problem’ with the story.

Maekallus is also super intriguing as far as characters go and definitely a unique interpretation of the beast. He has no soul to start with and watching him find it or ‘gain it’ makes for some of. the best parts of the story.

The interactions between Enna and Maekallus are varied and often but for some reason, I don’t always fully connect them together which is a shame, I think I would have liked watching their relationship develop more, in between the plotline.

All in all, an enjoyable story but with slow pacing and not quite fleshed out.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Pros:
-Really neat world and creatures
-I can never get enough Beauty and the Beast retellings
-Unique Beast
-Enna is not just a reader but of a scholarly/scientific mind
-the villagers are a bit more complex than in the original tales

Cons:
-A lot of filler
-It is another Beauty and the Beast retelling which may think is overdone
-There’s not a huge connection for me as a reader to Enna [or Enna and Maekallus.]
-It felt a little incomplete at the end but I also did enjoy the ending? Idk how to explain it.
-Pacing is off

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