Rumors say a Wild Man lives in the woods, but most don't know the truth about Tobias's connection to the place. When a young man named Henry shows up and gets tangled up with something dark from Tobias's past, Tobias will have to decide how much he's willing to give up for Henry's safety.
*This review was originally posted on 6/7/19 and has been reposted to add an update.*
*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
I liked certain elements of this novella, but others just didn’t work for me.
I think this was just too short for anything to be very developed or for me to feel any connection to or between the characters. It’s not that novellas can’t be good, just that maybe this particular idea needed a longer book. The main character (Tobias) didn’t have much personality, the two characters hardly interacted much on-page, a lot of things weren’t explained, I was just kinda told that some things happened, and then the book was over. I felt very distanced from all of it. It was almost like a fairy tale though, now that I think about it, and maybe that was the point.
I liked the myth/folklore/fantasy element though. Tobias had an interesting connection to the woods. I also enjoyed learning the story behind the woods and Tobias and some of the supernatural stuff as it was given to the reader bit by bit. There was a dryad in the book too, and I think she was my favorite character. She was so sweet and protective.
This story had a good idea, but ultimately the execution just wasn’t right for me. Others may enjoy it more though, especially those who enjoy fairy tales, soft and somewhat open-ended romance, and woodsy magic.
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read.*
2nd Read Update:
I’m adding an update because I listened to the audiobook, and it actually made the book more enjoyable for me! I think hearing the story aloud helped because of how fairytale-like it is and because the narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies, did a wonderful job. His way of speaking sounded natural and engaging. He gave each character a voice that suited them perfectly and made it easy to tell them apart. He brought more life to the characters and the story and captured its ethereal, fairytale feel. I still feel like my complaints are valid, but I didn’t really notice them this time. I feel like I had the right expectations about what the author was going for, and the audio gave everything more depth and made me feel closer to the story, and I liked it.
To be honest, I was originally going to rate both books in this series slightly lower, but then, as some days went by after finishing, I was still kinda thinking about them. I wanted more. Not in the sense that they felt incomplete or lacking, just in the sense that I enjoyed them and therefore wanted more about these characters, or even just more books with this feel to them. I think it was the combo of both the stories and the audio narration that really did it for me. Listening to these was comforting. It was like someone was reading me a bedtime story.
Also, I now realize this is part of a series (that wasn’t clear when it was first published), so the romance isn’t quite so open-ended.
Anyway, I recommend trying the audio for this one if you’re interested in it!
3 Stars (1st Read – 2019)
4 Stars (2nd Read – 2020)
Anyone who likes fairy tales, soft m/m romance, and woodsy magic.