ARC Review: A Far Wilder Magic

What a cute lil magical story!

I’m so tired of giving formal summaries of books so let me sum it up like this: Margaret misses her alchemist mom who abandoned her to search for the last Hala, a mythical creature of great power and destruction. Enter: Wes. An absolute golden retriever of a human who is on his last chance to seek out an alchemical apprenticeship with none other than Margaret’s mother. The Hala ends up finding its way to their neck of the woods, allowing them to team up and hunt it down in a lovely not-quite-enemies-to-lovers adventure. 

This book was just so nice. I loved the grumpy/ray of sunshine trope, especially since the girl was the grumpy one this time which I feel like you don’t see as much? Usually it’s good sunny girl/brooding bad boy with tragic backstory. Regardless, Wes is a little puppy dog and I loved him soooo much. Saft did a great job building up both character’s backstories and making them super human. They had layers, which I haven’t seen in a fantasy book in a while. 

The Hala was an interesting myth and magic system, although I didn’t find it as compelling as the characters. It might have been because some of the alchemy was complex, or because the characters were so fleshed out that the world paled in comparison. Either way it wasn’t bad, just not what I felt the real highlight of the story was. I did appreciate the fact that the hunt was set against a non medieval historical backdrop, just for a change of pace. It was a nice midway point between reeeaaaally old historical fantasy and super modern fantasy. 

As character driven novels often are for me, this one felt a little slow. Not boring slow, just like you were meandering along with the protagonists. Again, not a bad thing. As I’m more generally drawn to plot driven novels, I think that might be what left me wanting a little bit more here. Despite thoroughly enjoying the banter of Wes/Maggie/Wes’s family members. 

This was a bit of a short review, but I think I’ve said all there is. If you want a cute character-driven grumpy romance novel with a decent magic system, go ahead and give this one a read! 

Happy reading (:

Rating: 4/5
Pacing: slow-medium
Intended audience: YA
Content warnings: abandonment, emotional abuse, death of a family member, PTSD 

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