The Wood is full of magic but it’s hardly ever on your side. For Winter, the youngest guardian ever, the Wood gets in the way of being a normal teenager but that doesn’t mean she isn’t ready to fight for it.
Trigger Warning: Scary Monsters & Magic and Mentioned Drug Use.
I give this book 4.5 stars (out of five). This was a very good story, I loved the concept, characters and delivery. It has good writing and ways to reveal information through the point of view of the main character remembering things, this keeps the story consistent and avoids flashbacks or time skips.
There are magical woods that combine worlds, in which people from different places and times can all accidentally end up in the woods and Winter’s job is to send them back to their own world and time.
Something is wrong in the woods, Winter is the youngest guardian ever since her father mysteriously died two years earlier and she had to take over despite only being sixteen. One day she encounters a traveler called Henry who knows way too much about the Woods, the Council and lots of other things. The Woods are changing and she agrees to let him into her time, so that he can safely explain what’s going on. There is a conspiracy within the Council, Henry’s parents and Winter’s Dad are both either dead or missing because of Varo’s supporters. Varo is an immortal Old One who turned against the Council and wanted to use the Woods for evil; he was defeated ages ago but is now making a comeback.
[Spoiler Warning, skip the next two paragraphs to avoid them.]
They work together to figure out what’s going on and who’s really behind it, in the end they find out that it’s Winter’s Uncle Joe (also an immortal) who’s been watching over her but he is also the one trying to use the Wood’s power for evil. He wants to travel back in time and make things the way he believes is right, but that isn’t a good idea because changing one thing in history could change an unimaginable number of things in the future.
All his supporters turned on them and started to attack Winter, Henry and the other Council members, later they confronted Joe and killed him in an epic final battle.
The entire concept of the magical wood is very interesting and I love how it changes and the magic within it is very varied and unique. The ideas behind the loopholes were also really cool and I loved the entire story.
I loved the detail of Winter and other guardians having to learn a whole bunch of languages to be able to communicate with travelers, even lost or old languages because of the time travel.
There were terrifying monsters in the Wood, but there was a really interesting scene in which Winter realized that she could control them if she followed her instincts and focused her intent, even when they were previously under someone else’s control. This was really cool and showcased how interesting the Wood’s magic can be.
I absolutely love the concept of someone time traveling to the future and then being bewildered by the modern technology and how everything is different. I love this in general and it was super fun to read here.
The friendship and relationship between Winter and Henry was very organic, it didn’t feel forced and I really liked it. Despite all the difficulties of time differences, customs and trying to hide him from Winter’s mother.
Overall I loved this book and I would really recommend it. I think it was very intense at times but that’s what made it hard to put down.