Title: Into the Heartless Wood
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance
Summary: The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.
When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.
Epic, heartbreaking, and darkly atmospheric, Into the Heartless Wood is the story of impossible love between a monstrous tree siren and a boy who lives at the edge of her wood.
This was the first book I read by Joanna Ruth Meyer and I am pleased to say that I will definitely be reading her other works. Into the Heartless Wood was beautifully inventive and unique and captured my heart within the first few chapters. I loved watching this beautiful story unfold and I loved seeing the growth of the two main characters. One human, one monster, and both defined by their choices. The story is full of moments of what it’s like to be human and what it’s like to wish for a different life, a different future, all the while in the midst of battle.
I was really intrigued by the mysterious woods surrounding the kingdom. The woods lure men and women in, which leads to darkness and death. Except for the one time a boy is lured into the woods but his life is spared. Seren, a tree-siren, saves Owen from certain death, and this scene in the book is where the magic of the story truly takes off. The relationship between the two starts out as many: cautious but curious. But then it blossoms into something more, something that has the power to ultimately change the fate of one’s ending, especially as Seren longs to be human and leave her monstrous ways behind. Both of these characters were full of light and dark, and seeing them make certain choices and fight for one another was charming.
Meyer has written a book that is truly spectacular. The imagery she creates is so picturesque that it’s easy to imagine the scenery and world around this story. The world itself and the magic is mesmerizing and so atmospheric. The characters Meyer has crafted are captivating and flawed and full of compassion. And I loved the addition of an ancient war between the witch and the King. Both worlds are at war with each other and like many great war stories, only one is bound to win. Meyer’s writing was, overall, beautiful and extraordinary.
Into the Heartless Wood is a book full of heart and power and choices. It’s a story cloaked in magic and wishes and changing one’s future. This is a book I hope many people pick up. It’s easily a story that will bewitch many, but in a good way.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars