Author: Alyssa Wees
Publication Date: Expected March 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.
To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.
The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?
I recieved an e-ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced by this opportunity.
I was immediately drawn to The Waking Forest because that cover is serious goals! It is so creepy and mystifying and makes you want to read this book. I had to know what happens, with a cover so dark and daunting how could this book be anything less than amazing!?
And it, mostly was. I am honestly still trying to process what exactly I read while I write this review. There were some elements of the story that left me incredibly confused, which made it hard progressing through the book because half the time I had no idea what was happening. There were also some things that I really enjoyed though! So like I said, I’m very confused on my feelings about this one 😶
Let’s start with the things I liked about The Waking Forest. First and foremost, the BEAUTIFUL writing! Alyssa very much knows her way around the written word because my god I was immediately drawn in by her style of writing. I love a good story that weaves in beautiful and enchanting metaphors and prose. To me, the writing was the strongest aspect of this book. Because of this I also really liked how dark The Waking Forest was. Honestly though, I wish it was DARKER! There was so much more that could have been done with this story, so much more detail that could have taken this book to the next level.
Also, this story was basically Inception inside of Inception. For a while there I thought I was going crazy but I’m fairly certain now I understand what happened in this story 🤣 just imagine Inception but with basically a dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
I think there was a few things that could have been done better that would have made me love this story all the much more. One thing is I was hoping for more world building! The Waking Forest is partially set in a dark and creepy forest and partially set in a Kingdom with a glorious castle but I couldn’t really imagine either because the details were really lacking in this area. This didn’t make me like the book any less, I still really enjoyed it, I just want more from this story!
On to a couple things I wasn’t a big fan of, first I’ll start with the naming convention. Okay, not going to lie. Most of this book I had no idea who was who, I have no idea why but none of the names stuck with me. I think maybe because there was never clear descriptions of all the characters so I couldn’t imagine a face to put a name to. Also with that, all of their names in the main family started with R and were all incredibly similar so I just, couldn’t remember 🤷♀️
The other big thing I just can’t seem to grasp is the fact that this book is split into two parts but they have almost no relation. They feel very disjointed and I almost view them as two separate stories. At this point I also started to get incredibly confused by the plot, when Rhea and the Witch’s stories (which have been alternating chapters/separate stories until now) culminate and intersect I began to lose interest. I think Alyssa did such a fantastic job writing their stories *separately* that when they began weaving together it just got too convoluted for me to follow.
I do actually think this was a great book, it had a lot more potential though! If you like the dark creepy fantasies that are not too dense then I highly recommend this story. Especially because the writing is SO beautiful! I will be thinking of that writing for quite a while.