The Waking Forest

The Waking Forest

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, wai...

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Title:The Waking Forest
Author:Alyssa Wees
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Waking Forest Reviews

  • ☆High Lady of The Night Court☆

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  • Melanie (TBR and Beyond)

    The Waking Forest is a different sort of novel than many I come across in the YA category and it will not be for everyone, but several reviewers have already said if you love films by director Guillermo Del Toro, then you will likely enjoy this book.  It's exactly the kind of story he'd pick up to direct. 

    I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on this novel, but I tried not to read any reviews prior to reading the novel, so

    The Waking Forest is a different sort of novel than many I come across in the YA category and it will not be for everyone, but several reviewers have already said if you love films by director Guillermo Del Toro, then you will likely enjoy this book.  It's exactly the kind of story he'd pick up to direct. 

    I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on this novel, but I tried not to read any reviews prior to reading the novel, so I wouldn't have my opinion swayed in any way and I really can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Alyssa Wees is a master of words, the writing is stunning. Her descriptions are rich and full of life. The Waking Forest goes back and forth between two young girls and two completely different worlds. Rhea, is from our world and lives with her sisters and parents in a quiet little beach house. The family is seen as odd by outsiders, so they mostly keep to themselves. Rhea has nightmares/visions that have haunted her since she was a child and the lines between reality and dreaming seem to be blurring more and more.

    Then we have the Witch of the Woods, she is the granter of children's wishes and a fox has shown up to tell her a story. Rhea and the Witch's stories are told side by side and slowly start to come together and reveal an amazing connection.

    I grew up on fairytales, especially the Fairy Books that were put together by Andrew Lang, so I really almost feel nostalgic when I come across a slower paced novel that has some of those elements that I adored so much as a child (and an adult!). The perspective of The Witch in the Woods gave me all those warm feelings in spades. It's just so lovely. I did find the first chapter of this novel confusing, really confusing. The author went into the realm of purple prose a little too hard and lost some context because of the flowery writing - this does happen in a few other places, but I didn't find it particularly hard to understand once it the story got moving.

    I really appreciate that at the heart of this story, it's about family. There are caring and loving parents present and the relationship between the sisters was magical. Yes, they didn't always get along but you knew how much they all meant to each other. I love books with strong sibling relationships that don't focus heavily on romance, so I was pleasantly surprised at finding those qualities in this book. Something else that I thought was done really well was the depiction of anxiety. It felt very authentic and wasn't glossed over or cured overnight. I'm so happy we are seeing more and more realistic mental health inclusion. Oh, and I can't forget Gabriel, she's a little fox! If you put a little fox, wolf or even a dog in your story and no harm comes to them - I'm pretty much going to love it. I can't not! It's a freaking fox! Why don't I have one!

    I will say that once the stories do merge, there is a bit of a rough start at the connections but overall I thought it worked pretty well. A few things could have been developed a little more, but I was ultimately satisfied with how it all ended. I really appreciate a stand-alone fantasy because even though we are getting more lately - it's still a rare occurrence overall and I don't always feel like making a commitment of six books when I start something.

    Overall, I can't recommend this book to everyone. If you love lyrical, beautiful writing with a slow burn or old fairy tales then I think this book is worth checking out. It's worth having for the cover alone - I mean look at that! It's a thing of beauty! The Waking Forest unfolds slowly but still has a lasting impact. I'll certainly be checking out the author's future works.

    Thank you to Delacorte for the physical arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • erica

    is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Kind of. It’s creepy, melancholy, atmospheric, and I loved every page.

    There are two stories in this book. In the first, eighteen-year-old Rhea Ravenna lives in a small town with her mom, dad, four sisters, and Gabrielle, her pet fox (!). Rhea is plagued by visions and nightmares – she sees a dark and menacing forest in their backyard, even though there’s nothing there, and she sees images of death in the attic. The nightmares are getting worse

    is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Kind of. It’s creepy, melancholy, atmospheric, and I loved every page.

    There are two stories in this book. In the first, eighteen-year-old Rhea Ravenna lives in a small town with her mom, dad, four sisters, and Gabrielle, her pet fox (!). Rhea is plagued by visions and nightmares – she sees a dark and menacing forest in their backyard, even though there’s nothing there, and she sees images of death in the attic. The nightmares are getting worse, and now Rhea is sleepwalking – her nightmares are drawing her upstairs to the attic. Desperate for the nightmares to stop, Rhea begins sleeping in the attic, where she begins to see a shadowy young man, who comes to her every night (and possibly watches her sleep, a la Edward Cullen). She can’t see his face, but he is familiar to her, somehow. And he wants to play a game – if Rhea can guess his name, he will break her “curse” (his word!) and free her from her nightmares and visions. But instead of breaking her curse, Rhea’s nightmare deepens: every day, one of her family members disappears, and no one remembers them ever having existed at all. What is a dream, and what is reality?

    The second story is that of the Witch, who lives in the forest. She sits upon a throne shaped like a tooth, surrounded by foxes, and grants wishes to the children who visit her in their dreams each night. Her alter is made of scabs, baby teeth, and shadows: gifts from the children in exchange for granting their wishes. Now, the Witch has a new visitor: a young man who is sometimes a fox: the Fox Who Is No Fox. Each night, this young man tells the Witch a story about a magical world with manticores, nymphs, sphinxes, and humans who must hide their magic. The Witch is enchanted by his story.

    At first, the alternating chapters about Rhea and the Witch seem completely separate, but the two storylines merge halfway through the book. The story shifts entirely; it’s a bit jarring because the shift is so sudden, and it took me a few chapters to adapt. I felt like the transition could have been a lot better; as is, it’s uncomfortable for the reader.

    But I loved this book. This story is nightmarish and haunting, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

    is noticeably inspired by

    , so if you’re like me, and need something really good to read after finishing

    , you will love this book: it has magic that shapes dreams, blood or spirit that is filled with magic and can be extracted, and the characters have two hearts. Like Laini Taylor’s books,

    celebrates the power of storytelling and the magic of dreams.

    Alyssa Wees’ writing is just gorgeous. The imagery is lush and vivid; it’s

    to read. This book is absolutely perfect for a dark and stormy night. It begs you to curl up with a mug of tea and read it in one sitting.

    Release date March 12, 2019, available for pre-order now!

  • Melanie

    This is going to be such a hard book for me to review. Mostly because this debut novel has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. I was so positive that I was going to five star this leading up to the half way point, but I feel like things just started to fall apart and the story got harder and harder to follow. So, even though I’m not giving this the highest of

    This is going to be such a hard book for me to review. Mostly because this debut novel has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. I was so positive that I was going to five star this leading up to the half way point, but I feel like things just started to fall apart and the story got harder and harder to follow. So, even though I’m not giving this the highest of star ratings, I still am really impressed by the author’s craft and I can’t wait to see what they do next because their prose was seriously nothing short of magical.

    is a story that is telling two very different tales with alternating chapters. One is a girl in our world, living in a beach house with her family, and she has suffered from nightmare like dreams her entire life. The second is a witch in the magical woods, who grants children wishes with her heart, and she is being told a story by a very different kind of fox. These tales simultaneously go on and weave together that is actually really beautiful.

    - The sleepwalker, who keeps experiencing these nightmares, and is finding herself more and more close to understanding who the boy of shadows in the attic is, who only she can see.

    - The granter of wishes to different children who visit her each night, but her newest visitor is a fox that is unlike the rest who live in her forest.

    Sadly, it is when the tales come together that the story started falling apart for me. I feel like the author has so many amazing concepts, and she was weaving them separately almost perfectly. It is when they came together that I started to get so confused and so uninvested. Like, I take really extensive notes while reading and this story was so damn hard to keep straight. And I felt like my beautiful lucid dream while reading the first half, turned quickly into my own personal nightmare.

    But another thing I did really like about this story is that it mentions, on page, many times about living with anxiety and how much it will and can impact your life. A couple of the characters bring it up many times, and really show how you can live a normal and happy life with your anxiety, even if at times it feels like it is something that is constantly holding you back. And as someone who lives with anxiety, it was just something that I really appreciated.

    Overall, I really loved the first half of this book, and I am still completely and utterly blown away by the beautiful prose. And I know I’ve talked about the writing in this review a lot, but the atmosphere is actually perfect, too. The descriptions in this book were always equal parts frightening and beautiful and I had goosebumps while reading many passages. And you all know I have a very special place in my heart for

    . And even though I lost interest with the last half of this book, I am still so impressed with the writing quality, and the way that Alyssa Wees wove her words together, that I can’t wait to see what they do next.

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    for a tiny bit of physical abuse, torture (branding), captivity, slavery, loss of a loved one, scenes with spiders, and blood depiction.

    Buddy read with

    from

    ! ❤

  • Carrie

    The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees is a young adult fantasy. The chapters in this story alternate back and forth between different characters and situations giving it almost the feel of reading two different books at once.

    One side of this book features a young girl named Rhea who lives with her parents and sisters and has battled having nightmares whether sleeping or awake. The other side of the story centers around the witch in the woods that grants wishes to those that come find her.

    The first ha

    The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees is a young adult fantasy. The chapters in this story alternate back and forth between different characters and situations giving it almost the feel of reading two different books at once.

    One side of this book features a young girl named Rhea who lives with her parents and sisters and has battled having nightmares whether sleeping or awake. The other side of the story centers around the witch in the woods that grants wishes to those that come find her.

    The first half if not three quarters of this one is slow paced with a almost poetic style of writing to the story telling with more action beginning and picking up pace towards the end. As weird as this may sound to those that know me and how I feel about a slow pace I actually think the first half of this one was easier to understand and follow along which made me enjoy it more than the end. With the flowery writing and a certain weirdness to the fantasy this one was just so-so to me in the end.

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

    For more reviews please visit

  • Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review!

    The Waking Forest is an impressive young adult fantasy debut by Alyssa Wees.

    From the description:

    "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

    Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review!

    The Waking Forest is an impressive young adult fantasy debut by Alyssa Wees.

    From the description:

    "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."

    So this book really had a lot of potential, but the literal amount of over the top prose kind of ruined the pacing and content for me. To be sure, this was still a great read, but my speed reading tendencies didn't mix with the amount of time it took to digest a lot of the passages.

    Rhea and her family of R named sisters have a great relationship, and I thought that was a nice change from the typical fantasy novels where one or both parents are either dead, gone, abusive, or what not else. The anxiety and ptsd support system the family had built among themselves might be encouraging to some young readers as well.

    I did like the witch's story more than Rhea's. I can't so much relate to a happy family but the witch was super interesting. So was the boy made of darkness, there are definitely a few gems here. Once the stories intertwined in the second half of the book, it got a little more confusing. I did like the second half more as a whole though as it read more like a typical fantasy read, and I was able to read it a little faster.

    I think those that like dark, brooding, slow moving traditional type fairy tales could enjoy this book a lot. It won't be for everyone.

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    I wanted to like this. I tried to like it. But it was truly not for me. I’m sure some people would like this, but the writing did not work for me at all. Why?

    Because this book is a poster child for purple prose.

    I wanted to like this. I tried to like it. But it was truly not for me. I’m sure some people would like this, but the writing did not work for me at all. Why?

    Because this book is a poster child for purple prose.

    The plot felt terribly slow-paced with most of the action happening in the last third of the book and overall things were quite predictable.

    Overall Verdict: A dull and predictable dream

    *Detailed review to come?*

  • Patty (IheartYA)

    This book was high on my list of 2019 reads. It is well written, but it's a confusing mess. There is a story within a story but the plot lacks direction and meaning. The characters are shallow, flat and unappealing. There are atmospheric details which do a great job of setting the scene but add no detail to the evolution of the story bordering purple prose. Quite disappointed and still very confused. I can't figure out what the point was and I'm going to stop thinking about it because my head hu

    This book was high on my list of 2019 reads. It is well written, but it's a confusing mess. There is a story within a story but the plot lacks direction and meaning. The characters are shallow, flat and unappealing. There are atmospheric details which do a great job of setting the scene but add no detail to the evolution of the story bordering purple prose. Quite disappointed and still very confused. I can't figure out what the point was and I'm going to stop thinking about it because my head hurts.

  • Acqua

    It's made of stories inside of stories, interlocked, the lines between them blurred until you can't tell which side is before and which side is after. It's a book about mysterious witches, curses whispered in the dark, and the power of wishes.

    Sounds like an interesting concept, right? It was. The execution, sadly, wasn't at all.

    The first half didn't deserve two stars. It was a story about a witch and a haunted girl, it was interesting to read and beautifu

    It's made of stories inside of stories, interlocked, the lines between them blurred until you can't tell which side is before and which side is after. It's a book about mysterious witches, curses whispered in the dark, and the power of wishes.

    Sounds like an interesting concept, right? It was. The execution, sadly, wasn't at all.

    The first half didn't deserve two stars. It was a story about a witch and a haunted girl, it was interesting to read and beautiful and intricate the way this book promised to be. It had its own flaws -

    , that's true,

    - but it was what I wanted to read. I would have given it a solid three stars, even though I found the resolution of the story-inside-a-story part predictable.

    But the actual problem? That aspect gets resolved 60% into the book. After that,

    isn't a story about a witch and her pet foxes or about a girl whose family is disappearing in increasingly disturbing ways. No,

    .

    . I wanted to read about a witch, a creepy forest, and tales nestled inside other tales. I could have forgiven that if the second half had had any interesting elements in it, but it didn't - it was

    . How many times have I read a

    story in my life? Right now, I can list at least twelve YA books published in the last four years that did this, and all of them were better at it than this book.

    Everything I liked about

    was lost in part two. The witch-y aspect, the foxes,

    , beautiful in its own way - they weren't there anymore, and I ended up skimming most of the ending.

    I guess I just need to remind myself to never trust YA fantasy, no matter how good the premise sounds.

  • Candace Robinson

    Not exactly sure what the heck I just read and am still totally confused. However, I do see this as a movie being directed by my man Guillermo Del Toro and I would totally watch it!

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