Thank you so much Wednesday Books for the free early digital read of A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft! All opinions are my own!
This is a solid and enjoyable follow up to Down Comes the Night, Saft’s debut, although I had pretty similar issues with the two books as far as repetitive inner monologue and content for teens. I mostly enjoyed this read and would say yes for … Heck, 16+ with parental guidance probably
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: A Far Wilder Magic
- Series: N/A
- Author: Allison Saft
- Publisher & Release: Wednesday Books, 03/08/22
- Pages: 384
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐✨ yes for fans of slow burning, romantic books with low fantasy elements
Here is the synopsis:
A romantic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Erin A. Craig and Margaret Rogerson, about two people who find themselves competing for glory – and each other’s hearts – in a magical fox hunt.
When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist―yet. He’s been fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, and his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret. She begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt―if they survive that long.
In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.
A Far Wilder Magic is a solid, atmospheric story, set in a world with an interesting mix of modern and old fashioned elements. There is mystery, alchemy and magic, sexual tension out the wazoo, and a deadly fox hunt.
The time period confused me a bit, it wasn’t steampunk but the rich had cars. There was alchemy but also electricity. Guns were the weapon of choice while there were tenements and factories in the cities. An age of immigration and innovation maybe, where old and new tended to mix was what I pictured, in a place like Dublin. It was clear that the racial and religious lines drawn were Catholic, vs Irish and Jewish (I’m 99% sure), although they had other names and different religious objectives
There was not a ton of actual magic, although the Hala causing destruction and mayhem was interesting. I liked that the Hala didn’t shy away from people. The other magic involved the alchemy, but more as a natural talent that could be honed through study. An alchemist and sharpshooter had to enter the hunt together – and I again think she could have done more with the magic, but I liked what was there.
The characters are sweet and I liked them. Wes was my favorite because he stood up to the bullies and found it within himself to become a great alchemists, despite his multiple failures and implied dyslexia. He hid all his vulnerability behind a wall of good looks, and I liked his character arc.
Margaret took a bit longer to crack, and I questioned quite a few of her choices like to let a strange teenage boy live in the manor, despite how much she needed help. Margaret also crumbled or stood down in the face of religious and racial bullying, where Wes stood up and was more fed up with taking it. Both are fierce characters in their own way, and I guess when you put the opposite sides of a coin together … You get a coin.
The book had good themes like overcoming prejudice, standing up to bullies, as well as believing in yourself, trusting others, not giving up, found family, and living your own life vs. staying in a parent’s expectations or shadow.
**I really liked the book, I just wish that the author wouldn’t interrupt action scenes for two pages of inner monologue that we know already. Let the action end first or it’s a very jarring shift in momentum**.
She did it at one crucial point where an animal was injured – you’re telling me the characters paused assisting the animal to sit and share monologue for so long? Then at the end of the fox hunt she broke a critical scene for … more monologue. I will be honest that it took some skimming to get through those more repetitive parts. I would have liked to see more from the fox hunt itself too.
There was quite a bit of action though, from sabotage to run ins with the Hala and training for the hunt. There was also a snarky horse, which I can always appreciate!
Content wise: again this is young adult, and I will die on the hill that characters don’t need to go from first kiss to no clothes in one scene, ever. I mean hello the mom was right, I would have skinned them both alive had I walked in on that. Please stop this trend of characters shacking up before the big end scene, it’s neither necessary nor something that all teens want to read in every single fantasy. There is some other content regarding touching oneself, a teen girl reading smut, condoms. I already touched on the religious and racial bullying, which is a good theme to confront and seems well handled, and a bit of gore. Amazon says age 14-18 but I would STRONGLY say 16+ for parents, regarding sexual content.
All in all, again, I truly mostly enjoyed this one. It’s a good book for fans of atmospheric, slow burn romances with low fantasy elements. I would recommend for 16+ and new adult readers