The Will and the Wilds - OMG it's a fantasy without a princess in it????

title: The Will and the Wilds
author: Charlie N. Holmberg
format: eARC
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Bottom Line Up Front

THE WILL AND THE WILDS is an excellent, claustrophobic fantasy that takes place in a small town on the edge of the woods that lead to a demon (mysting) realm. When Enna gets marked for death by a minor demon that wants to steal from her, she summons a stronger demon to do the fighting for her. But it all goes wrong and Maekallus gets trapped in her world, which is deadly to him. They have to find a way to break the spell keeping in the human world, all while he can't leave one tiny glen and Enna can't leave know. Ye Olden Times. Walking places takes a while. Overall it's a wonderful, focused novel that really makes you care about the two main characters and their troubles, and the magic and worldbuilding is delightful. I had a lot of fun with it.

First Off

  • Yes I know there's plenty of fantasy that doesn't focus on royalty, but I ain't seen it in a minute so just let me be excited, okay?
  • Anyone out there looking for some low-stakes fantasy (which I have seen asks for) then...okay, this is more mid-stakes, but seriously.
  • Ain't no worlds or countries about to end, it's just two knuckleheads that did an oops with magic and now they have to fix it or they die. Not everyone. Just them dying. But that's plenty!

Teh Problems

  • Not the book's problems. The character's problems.
  • They had so many!
  • Every time you think 'okay, they'll figure out the spell this time' NOPE.
  • Okay, the page count should have given it away, I mean they can't solve the main problem at 65% Whitley, get it together.
  • But in keeping with the scale of the book they had such personal problems that all stacked on top of each other and made shit so complicated.
  • It wound up being very tense, which I loved in something that was also so narrowly focused on a small cast. 

Oh, there was a romance

  • Kinda.
  • Okay, no, for realsy, and it was present throughout the book.
  • No lie, I wanted her to hook up with the other guy, though.
  • IDK, I'm either too ace or not ace enough because I wasn't feeling the main pair. Too much tension and magic conundrum and cool demon stuff, you guys basically only kissed you didn't have any of the shmoopy part of a romance line.
  • Don't get me wrong, I liked that he cared about her and how that came about, but...HEA? Okay, if you say so.

Will I read this author again? Her Paper Magician series is totally on my TBR and might have moved up a few slots after this. (Metaphorically. We all know I'm not organized enough to number my TBR.)
Will I continue this series? Pretty sure it's a one-shot, alas.

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