dark fantasy novel

A solid but dark fantasy novel

Review of ‘Fear the Wolf’ by Andrew Butcher

This was a solid fantasy read. I would put this in the category of dark fantasy novel and maybe even new adult. I think the best way to describe this would be Little Red Riding Hood on steroids. At least I felt like some inspiration could have come from Red but the story is plenty different not some remake. I personally don’t like dark fantasy as much as high or epic as it tends to have a bit of a depressing feel, but that doesn’t take away from this being a well-written story.

This is a story about Senla who lives in a village where the most important thing is to “fear the wolf”. You are to do as you are told, respect your elders, and be happy with the plain life you are given. Art, expressing one’s self, and really having a difference of opinion is thought to bring death upon you by the wolf. Senla is not doing well in the village. She chafes under the restrictions and yearns for freedom. Will her rebellious ways finally catch up with her?

I did mention I felt this could go in the NA category. That is because of Senla’s age and the age of most of the other important characters. Part of the story is also about Senla growing-up, coming of age so parts had that YA/NA feel. However, I do want to make clear that this is still plenty dark. There is a lot of violence and plenty of death. I should also add in another trigger warning that rape is threatened.

I do want to mention this doesn’t have much of a romance. Senla is bisexual, she talked about being attracted to both men and women, but in this book, she only has relationships with women. There are a few kisses and one fade to black sex scene but nothing explicit. Again, I would not really call it a romance but two characters that care for each other and are just starting to get to know one another.

I thought the world-building overall could have been better. The villages and why they act the way they do is well explained but the earth being changed was barely talked about. It was mentioned so little I don’t even know what to call the event that happened. There were two big twists that I did not see coming. One seemed out of the left field and while I was all for it being discussed in a book, it felt rushed and the storyline underdeveloped. The other twist I should have seen coming, but didn’t and I enjoyed it more. There has been some question about if this might have a sequel. My opinion is I’m good with how the book ended and I don’t think one is needed.

My last issue and why I can’t rate this book as high as I was hoping really was the main character. She is fine and sometimes even interesting. The problem was I wanted more. I wanted to bleed with her and have my heartache when hers did. I wanted to care so much that the danger of death almost made it too hard to read… but it just didn’t happen. The best fantasy books are with characters that just grip you and don’t let go. Once again Senla is a perfectly fine character, I didn’t dislike her or anything, I was just hoping for great.

There are some bumps but I thought most of the book was well imagined and well written. Right now this book is priced at only 0.99 on Amazon. Don’t let that price fool you. The story is quality and well done even if I didn’t always love all the story choices. But again I’m not the biggest dark fantasy fan so you might enjoy this one even more than I did. 3.50 Stars.

A copy was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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