Whitten debuts with a dark, dazzling reimagining of “Little Red Riding Hood.” The kingdom of Valleyda sits on the edge of the Wilderwood, a magic forest that holds the monsters of the Shadowlands at bay—but for a price. Every Second Daughter of the Valleydan royal family must be sacrificed to the Wolf of the Wilderwood in exchange for the kingdom’s safety. Second Daughter Redarys has had 20 years to come to terms with her fate, even coming to embrace it. Upon entering the woods, she’s immediately endangered by the bloodthirsty trees, but she escapes the trees by entering the Wolf’s Keep. There she meets Eammon, the Wolf, who surprises her by giving her the option to return home. Afraid of hurting those she loves if she denies her destiny, Red chooses to stay. But the sentinel trees are dying, and if Red and Eammon can’t stop the decay, the Shadowlands will break free. Whitten lovingly weaves in elements from other fairy tales, including “Beauty and the Beast” and “Snow White,” while crafting a story that is all her own. With clever, immersive prose and a subtle touch of horror, this is sure to enchant. Agent: Whitney Ross, Irene Goodman Literary. (Jun.)
"Drenched in atmosphere, with sharp and biting prose, Whitten’s For the Wolf is a glorious journey through woods deep and so very dark. A stunning debut."—Erin Craig, NYT bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows
“A brilliant dark fantasy debut. I loved it! I was completely swept away by the world-building, the characters, and the delicate gorgeousness of the writing.”—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author
“Eerie, earthy to its bones, and rife with elder magic. Hannah Whitten is one to watch.”—Anna Bright, author of The Beholder
"Atmospheric, folkloric, and half-familiar. If you ever wished Beauty and the Beast had more eldritch forest monsters and political machinations, this is the romance for you."—Alix E. Harrow, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
"Whitten weaves a captivating tale in this debut, in which even secondary characters come to feel like old friends. The novel seamlessly blends "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast" into an un-put-down-able fairy tale that traces the boundaries of duty, love, and loss. A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy." —Kirkus
"Whitten debuts with a dark, dazzling reimagining of 'Little Red Riding Hood'... Whitten lovingly weaves in elements from other fairy tales, including 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Snow White,' while crafting a story that is all her own. With clever, immersive prose and a subtle touch of horror, this is sure to enchant."—Publishers Weekly
"This hauntingly beautiful, fractured retelling of Little Red Riding Hood is dark, emotional, and filled with tense action. Whitten’s debut is epic and enthralling."—Library Journal
DEBUT Centuries ago in a vaguely European fantasy world, a bargain was struck: the First Daughter for the throne, the Second Daughter for the Wolf. Now Redarys, the Second Daughter of Valleyda, is approaching her 20th birthday, when she is to be sacrificed so that the Wolf of the Wilderwood releases the Five Kings, the imprisoned old gods of their world. Red agrees to render herself to the Wilderwood—not to secure the release of the old gods, but to protect everyone, especially her beloved twin sister, Neve. In the Wilderwood, Red learns that the legends are lies: the Wolf is just a man, and the Wilderwood holds at bay an evil that overshadows all the monster stories that have been told. It turns out that some in Red's world feel that the Five Kings must return, however evil they have become. Only Red can pay the costs of the old gods' return, if she accepts her power. Love will compel Red and others in her world to make difficult choices that might destroy everyone. VERDICT This hauntingly beautiful, fractured retelling of Little Red Riding Hood is dark, emotional, and filled with tense action. Whitten's debut is epic and enthralling.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton
Ever since childhood, Redarys has known that her sister Neve, the firstborn, would ascend the throne while she would be sacrificed to the fabled wolf of a magical wood. But unlike her forebears, she doesn't have a grisly fate in store. When a new religious sect tips the balance, the woods and its devoted wolf can no longer stave off the corruptive force they had held back for generations. Only by rejecting the role of sacrifice and choosing to share the burden of her partner, does their world stand a chance. This dark retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" and other folktales contains bloodthirsty trees, demonic dead kings, and a Green Man figure. While the lore defines this world and its politics, it is the bonds that shape this character-driven narrative. Through switching perspectives, both sisters demonstrate that their choices are made out of love and that they are not without consequences. Even though other characters tend to get lost in the mix, the action and romance will easily sweep readers along. VERDICT Fantasy fans will get hooked on this dark tale of enchantment, the first in a new series.—Rachel Forbes, Oakville P.L., Ont.
Twin princesses—one fated to become a queen, the other a martyr—find themselves caught up in an unexpected battle of dark magic and ancient gods.
Four hundred years ago, a Valleydan princess facing a loveless betrothal sought refuge in the Wilderwood with her lover, the Wolf. The legendary Five Kings—including her father and her husband-to-be—pursued them only to be trapped in the Wilderwood. Now, according to legend, the only hope of restoring the Five Kings to power lies in the ritual sacrifice of every Second Daughter born to Valleyda's queen. There hasn't been a second daughter for 100 years—until now. On her 20th birthday, Redarys accepts her fate and walks into the Wilderwood to become the Wolf's next victim only to find that the stories she grew up on were lies. The handsome man who lives in a crumbling castle deep in the forest is not the original Wolf but his son, and he wants nothing to do with Red or her sacrifice. Afraid of her wild magic abilities and the danger they pose to her sister, Neverah, Red refuses to leave the Wilderwood. Instead, she clings to the new Wolf, Eammon, who will do whatever it takes to protect her from the grisly fate of the other Second Daughters. Meanwhile, in the Valleydan capital, Neve's desperation to bring her sister home sets her on a path that may spell disaster for Red, Eammon, and the Wilderwood itself. Whitten weaves a captivating tale in this debut, in which even secondary characters come to feel like old friends. The novel seamlessly blends "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast" into an un-put-down-able fairy tale that traces the boundaries of duty, love, and loss.
A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.