Title: The Will and the Wilds
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series.
Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.
Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.
Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.
Sometimes I feel like Charlie N. Holmberg has a direct line to whatever primal part of my brain determines the kind of stories I enjoy. Seriously. Not just the kinds of stories I like to read, but also the kind I some day aspire to write.
To say that I loved The Will and the Wilds is a gross understatement. This book takes everything I love about a fairy tale love story and makes it feel exciting and new. Enna can easily rival any fairy tale heroine (looking at you, Disney) as a strong, independent woman who also allows herself to be vulnerable with the people she cares about. I also really enjoy a good monster boyfriend, and Maekallus fits the bill perfectly! Something I really liked about this story was that the author didn’t bother with trying to juggle a large cast. For the most part, we’re always with Enna and Maekallus with the rest of the characters really just coming and going. It made for a story that felt intimate and cozy. As a result, it was really easy to immerse myself in the story, and I had to make myself slow down while I was reading it so I wouldn’t blow through it. Still, I ended up reading it much faster than I would have liked.
The mythos of the world is also really interesting. There’s clearly a larger world at play and many adventures probably happening out there, but the way this story is written, it gives us just enough of a taste of the world. We get just enough about mystings and the other world to know they’re there and have a deep-rooted history, but we never get bogged down having to read about it. This leaves the world open to future installments I most definitely would love to read!
If you’re a fan of fairy tales and beauty and the beast-type dynamics, definitely give this one a shot.