Review: The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg // VBC Review

The Will and the Wilds
Charlie N. Holmberg
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 (47North)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 2.5 stars

After Enna’s mother was killed by a mysting near the wildwoods of their home, Enna has understood to fear them. Their presence in the wildwood increases. When one attacks Enna in the home she shares with her father, she knows only one way to stop them and that is to turn them on themselves.

Enna summons Maekallus from the Deep and bargains with him to kill the mysting coming after her. His price: a kiss. Because Maekallus is a narval, a mysting whose kiss will steal the soul from a mortal. After Maekallus seemingly completes the task for Enna, the two find themselves bound together with Maekallus unable to leave the mortal realm—which will invariably lead to his death. With the binding their futures are linked unless Enna can find a way to free them before it’s too late, or before she loses her soul completely.

The Will and the Wilds has all these really interesting pieces. The monster mythology—all the varying types of mystings—which Charlie N. Holmberg handles brilliantly. The presumptions that Enna has always lived by in regards to the mystings and then when confronted with Maekallus beginning to rethink her stance somewhat. And Maekallus himself being so influenced by Enna’s soul taking him on a transformation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like it was executed in the best way. There’s supposed to be an undeniable connection between Maekallus and Enna both figuratively and literally that is only enhanced as her soul gains influence over him. I just didn’t feel the punch of that connection or influence like I believe we’re supposed to.

Also, the pacing started out at a good clip as everything is set up and there were certainly development pops that piqued my interest, but for the most part there was a lot of meandering through the wildwood. The story is told from both Enna and Maekallus’s points of view, which is typically something that I like, but here it just seems to subvert any more of those intriguing moments from taking root because there’s too much that happens that readers know about and we’re left waiting for one or the other narrators to catch up. In that regard it could feel a bit too redundant. It was enough that when I put down the book, I wasn’t too eager to pick it up again.

All of this is unfortunate because I’ve enjoyed Charlie N. Holmberg’s previous books. But it’s a reminder that not all books work for all readers all of the time. For me, I’m always quick to recommend Holmberg’s Paper Magician series and its spinoff The Plastic Magician. And regardless, I’ll still always look for what comes next.

 Sexual Content: Kissing

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